Snoring is often dismissed as something that’s normal for certain people. Those who have to share a bed or room with someone who snores may not consider it “normal,” at all, as it can cause serious sleep disruption for the person who has to listen to it. In addition to being a problem for people who share sleeping space with someone who snores, snoring can pose significant health risks to the person doing the snoring. There are numerous “stop snoring” products on the market, and not all of them work as advertised. Snoring might be something that should be discussed with a doctor since it can involve the following health risks.
1. HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
You may wonder what in the world snoring has to do with high blood pressure, but in some cases, snoring can actually be disruptive to the sleep of the person snoring and keeping them from getting the rest they need. A constant lack of restorative sleep can have an effect on the body in many ways, one of them being higher blood pressure.
People who snore are far more likely to suffer a stroke. Sometimes snoring is an indication of a more serious sleep-related problem such as sleep apnea, which elevates the risk of stroke even further.
3. CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIA
Snoring can cause a lack of oxygen that the body needs to maintain the proper functioning of major organs like the heart. An arrhythmia is a disruption in the normal rhythm of the heart, which can cause it to beat erratically. In many cases, an arrhythmia is not a significant risk to life, but in other cases, it can lead to permanent damage that can make life-threatening complications much more likely.
4. FETAL HEALTH
For pregnant women, snoring presents a special risk. Since the life of the unborn child is also dependent on a good supply of oxygen from the mother, any disruption in that supply, as can happen with snoring, can cause serious, even life-threatening problems. These problems can manifest in the form of birth defects or even fetal death.
What we used to know as acid reflux is now commonly referred to as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. It may not sound like a terribly serious condition, but if left untreated, the acid that bubbles up from the stomach into the esophagus can lead to much more serious problems that including the erosion of tissues and even cancer.
Who would imagine that snoring has anything to do with accidents? Since snoring can result in lack of sleep, it could make focusing on important tasks like driving more difficult. People who are always tired are much more likely to be involved in accidents, and snoring is a particular danger for people who drive for a living or operate heavy machinery.
All of our body functions are highly dependent on oxygen, which is normally delivered to every cell in the body by way of the bloodstream. Snoring can disrupt the flow of oxygen into the lungs, and throughout the body. This includes the brain, which is one of the most oxygen-hungry organs in the body. The brain, when it lacks sufficient oxygen, will not function normally and could lead to conditions such as depression.
While a headache alone is not usually considered a serious health problem, snoring is a potential cause of frequent headaches. Painkillers such as aspirin and NSAIDs are often used to dull headache pain, and overuse of these medications carry very real and serious risks of their own.