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Archive Monthly Archives: October 2019

Snoring and Heart Attacks

People who experience chronic snoring are at risk for serious health complications, such as obstructive sleep apnea and subsequent cardiovascular strain. Prolonged sleep apnea can create higher blood pressure and cause cardiac enlargement, which results in a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea is generally associated with obesity, which is also a primary risk factor for stroke and heart disease.”The evidence is very strong for the relationship between sleep apnea and hypertension and cardiovascular disease generally, so people really need to know that,” says Dr. Donna Arnett, incoming president of the American Heart Association.

In the United States, heart disease is currently the leading cause of death, and stroke is a leading cause of both death and disability. High blood pressure serves as a major risk factor for both conditions.

Research suggests that snorers with sleep apnea are twice as likely to experience nonfatal heart-disease events and fatal heart attacks. To reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular complications, patients are often treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in addition to being encouraged to lose weight and increase physical activity.

Because snoring can be an indication of sleep apnea and subsequent cardiovascular disease, it is essential that you consult your doctor to treat your snoring and to ascertain whether you are also experiencing any cardiovascular issues that require treatment. At home, try implementing several lifestyle changes to resolve snoring and to prevent cardiovascular complications.

Losing weight and exercising are two of the most important strategies for reducing snoring and promoting physical health. Avoiding alcohol and sedatives and quitting smoking are also important to promote healthy throat tissue and aid regular sleep. Finally, establishing regular sleep patterns can often help you sleep better and minimize snoring.

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Snoring And Its Contribution To Sleep Deprivation

Although many people snore occasionally, it can affect some people frequently and cause significant sleep issues. Snoring can impair the quantity and quality of sleep of you and your family members or roommates. Snoring is a common condition that can affect anyone. It occurs most often, however, in men and in those who are overweight. Additionally, snoring usually becomes worse as you age. Habitual snorers often require medical assistance to get a good night’s sleep.

Snoring is caused by the physical obstruction of airflow through the mouth and nose. This obstruction of airflow can be caused by a combination of various factors. Some people snore because of obstructed nasal airways, which can occur during a sinus infection or in allergy seasons. Bulky throat tissues can also aggravate snoring; this is generally a concern for those who are overweight or for children with large tonsils.

Additionally, poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue as a result of aging or alcohol consumption can lead to snoring, as relaxed throat muscles can collapse back into the airway and obstruct airflow. Finally, having a long uvula or a long soft palate can narrow the passage between the nose and throat, causing frequent snoring.

Those who suffer from snoring can experience impaired sleep in several areas. Chronic snorers often develop obstructive sleep apnea, which involves interrupted breathing during sleep, waking up frequently during the night, higher blood pressure, and greater risk of cardiovascular issues.

Additionally, chronic snorers can hinder the sleep of those around them, causing others to experience drowsiness during the day and an impaired quality of life, which may lead to resentment and strained relationships.

Because sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your mental and physical wellbeing, it is important to consult your healthcare provider to determine how to treat your snoring. To maximize the quality of your sleep and decrease the effects of sleep deprivation, ensure that your snoring and other sleep disorders are treated by a medical professional. He or she can help you develop good sleep habits to prevent snoring and its harmful effects.

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Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Over 100 million people suffer from sleep apnea worldwide. Of these individuals, approximately 80% are currently undiagnosed and are at risk for extensive health complications. Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that involves repeatedly paused breathing. Those who have sleep apnea often snore loudly and feel exhausted even after a full night’s sleep.

An estimated one in 25 middle-aged men and one in 50 middle-aged women have sleep apnea. Ethnic groups such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop sleep apnea than are Caucasians. This condition occurs in two primary forms. In central sleep apnea, the brain does not send appropriate signals to the muscles responsible for breathing.

In obstructive sleep apnea, however, the throat muscles relax to the point of hindering airflow. This latter form of sleep apnea is the more common type, affecting middle-aged males predominantly.

Sleep apnea involves several primary symptoms, which may be noticed by the patient or by their sleep partner, roommate, or other household members. If you suffer from sleep apnea, you are often aware of symptoms such as excessive daytime sleepiness, memory and concentration difficulties, headaches, frequent urination during the night, and sweating and chest pain during sleep.

Other symptoms are more obvious to your sleep partner and others; these include loud snoring, restless tossing and turning during sleep, nighttime choking or gasping, and frequent pauses in breathing.

These symptoms are generally caused by airway obstruction as a result of enlarged throat tissue or poor airway-muscle tone. If you suffer from these symptoms, see your doctor for a physical exam. He or she may refer you to a specialist for a sleep assessment like a polysomnogram, which measures various body functions during sleep to determine the severity of your breathing impairment.

Based on these diagnostics, your medical team will be able to help treat your sleep apnea and to prevent any associated side effects to your cardiovascular health.

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The Different Contributors to Snoring / Causes of Snoring

Snoring can be uncomfortable for both the snorer and those around them. Multiple factors contribute to your risk of developing snoring, and some of these factors are more serious than others. By making lifestyle adjustments, however, you can decrease your risk and your snoring symptoms significantly.

Generally, snoring is the result of airflow obstruction at the back of the mouth and nose. This obstruction is from the airway narrowing because of poor sleep posture, throat-tissue abnormalities, or clogged nasal passages. Preexisting medical conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea can cause this obstruction and lead to potentially fatal breathing complications.

Sleep posture is a common cause of snoring. Sleeping flat on your back, for example, makes your throat tissue relax. The tongue, uvula, and soft palate can strike against each other during breathing if you sleep on your back, making snoring much more likely.

Additionally, issues with mouth anatomy can also prompt snoring. For example, some people (usually men) are born with unusually narrow airways. If you have a long soft palate, enlarged adenoids, or big tonsils, this can reduce the space in your airway and cause snoring. Similarly, structural defects in your nasal airway can also create snoring, such as a deviated septum or chronic congestion.

Being overweight is another major contributor to snoring. People who are overweight often have excess throat tissue that narrows their airways. Poor muscle tone in the neck and throat is also a concern in overweight individuals, as this can further impair breathing and make snoring more likely.

Alcohol consumption may also cause snoring, especially right before sleeping. This is because alcohol relaxes muscle tone in the throat and decreases your body’s natural defenses against airway obstructions. Additionally, tobacco usage and certain medications may also increase muscle relaxation and contribute to snoring.

If you snore, see your doctor to ascertain what may be causing your condition and to determine the best course of treatment. He or she may encourage you to make lifestyle treatments like adjusting sleep posture and losing weight to alleviate your snoring.

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Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders have become an increasingly important health concern in the United States. Associated with obesity, depression, and other health concerns, sleep apnea occurs when your airway is blocked by throat tissue or not activated properly by the brain during sleep. Unfortunately, many of those who suffer from this condition have not received an official diagnosis and are therefore not pursuing the treatment they need.

Sleep apnea affects an estimated nine percent of women and 24 percent of men. Although this disorder is treatable and preventable, at least 80 percent of those with moderate to severe sleep apnea are currently undiagnosed. This is dangerous because untreated sleep apnea can also cause high blood pressure, stroke, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and other cardiovascular complications, in addition to making accidents more likely.

Because of the dangerous consequences of untreated sleep apnea, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is essential for those with this condition. Studies have determined that patients with undiagnosed sleep apnea have considerably higher overall medical costs that correlate with the severity of their sleep-disordered breathing. Other studies indicate that undiagnosed sleep apnea may cause systemic hypertension in middle and older-aged men especially. Furthermore, researchers estimate that estimate that untreated sleep apnea creates approximately $3.4 billion in additional medical costs in the United States.

If you are male, over the age of 40, or overweight, you are at an even higher risk level for developing sleep apnea. Additionally, if any of your family members have chronic sleep disorders, you are more likely to experience one as well. If you are experience trouble sleeping on a regular basis, it is very important that you see your doctor to discuss the possibility of sleep apnea and to consider the solutions that would work best for you.

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Ways to Dramatically Reduce or Stop Your Snoring

Snoring is a fairly common condition, affecting a large number of men and women. Those who snore can experience discomfort and sleepless nights, and they can also impair their partner’s ability to sleep at night and function during the day as well. It is possible, however, to reduce the effects of snoring with several lifestyle changes and treatments.

Before you can effectively stop your snoring, it is important to determine its cause. Not all snoring involves the same origins and symptoms. As a result, certain tips and treatments may reduce your snoring better than others. Individuals who snore have some form of airflow obstruction in their mouth and nose while sleeping.

Often, this is caused by the narrowing of the airway from poor sleep posture or from the abnormal layout of soft tissues in the throat. This makes the throat, uvula, soft palate, and other structures vibrate against each other, causing the sound of snoring.

Lifestyle changes are usually effective in remedying problematic snoring. Losing weight and exercising can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and strengthen muscles in your abs, chest, and throat. This reduces snoring by opening and strengthening your airway, which enables you to breathe more easily while sleeping. Similarly, avoiding alcohol, tobacco products, and sedatives can limit harmful muscle relaxation in the throat and help prevent snoring.

Adjusting your sleeping posture can also limit your snoring. Lying on your back causes your tongue and soft palate to collapse against the back of your throat, creating noisy snoring during sleep. This is easily fixed by sleeping on your side or with your head elevated four inches, since these postures open the airway to allow more efficient breathing.

If your snoring persists despite these lifestyle changes, a more serious condition like obstructive sleep apnea could be the cause. See your doctor to determine the best way to treat your snoring and to address any related conditions. He or she may also recommend throat exercises or an anti-snoring device such as a jaw support or mouthpiece if necessary.

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What Is Sleep Apnea?

Because many people experience snoring at some point in their lives, certain medical conditions that involve snoring can go unnoticed. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that involves choking, paused breathing, or shallow breaths during sleep. Because this condition can mimic normal snoring, it often remains undiagnosed.

An apnea is a period during which breathing ceases or is dramatically reduced. In general terms, an apnea occurs when a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer. This creates a drop in blood oxygen levels and an increase in stress hormones, which can prompt a person to gasp for breath. Related symptoms of sleep apnea include morning headaches, mood swings, sore throat, frequent urination at night, and cognitive problems.

Sleep apnea occurs in several different types. In central sleep apnea, the brain does not signal the airway muscles to breathe; this breathing difficulty is the result of instability in the respiratory control center and is not due to airway obstruction. Central sleep apnea is often associated with certain medications and medical conditions.

The second more-common and more-severe form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This condition is created by airway blockage, usually when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea often causes snoring because of blocked breathing during sleep. This condition is common in individuals who are overweight, but can affect even small children if they have enlarged tissue in their throats.

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep condition that requires long-term management through lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and other treatments. If the condition is left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to increasing medical problems, such as high blood pressure, headaches, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, and depression.

Additionally, untreated sleep apnea can create poor performance in daily activities as a result of sleep deprivation. This can increase your risk of work accidents, motor-vehicle crashes, and other safety problems. Because of these serious complications, it is vital that you see your doctor to treat any chronic snoring or breathing issues during sleep.

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Medical Risks Brought About By Snoring

Often, snoring is regarded as simply annoying. For many individuals who snore, however, snoring can be a significant health concern with many associated risks. Although sleep apnea is the primary associated risk with snoring, snoring-with or without sleep apnea-should be regarded as a medical concern.

Snoring is caused by obstructed airflow during sleep. This may occur as the result of a variety of factors, such as bulky throat tissue, obstructed nasal airways, or weak muscle tone in the throat and tongue. Generally, snoring is more common among men and in those who are overweight.

Cardiovascular issues are closely tied to snoring. Researchers at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital found that snoring is associated with the thickening of the carotid arteries’ inner walls. Because these arteries carry blood to the brain, any narrowing or blockage dramatically increases your risk of stroke. Other cardiovascular issues such as elevated blood pressure, heart disease, and arrhythmias are also seen at higher rates in those who snore frequently.

Breathing and sleep-related problems are associated with snoring, particularly for snorers with sleep apnea. Sore throat, trouble concentrating, and daytime sleepiness occur frequently for people who snore. Additionally, other illnesses like gastroesophageal reflux disease are common. This is because of disordered throat closing during sleep, which causes pressure changes that can suck stomach contents back into the esophagus.

Women who snore during pregnancy can experience fetal complications related to interrupted sleep. Headaches are also common among snorers, as is frequent urination during the night. Sexual dysfunction can also occur as a result of impaired sleep and relational tension with your sleeping partner.

Because snoring is considered commonplace, most people unfortunately do not pursue treatment by a medical professional. If you snore chronically, it is important to see your doctor to determine how to relieve your symptoms and treat any complications.

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Overdependence On Medical Science As A Way to Cure Snoring and Sleep Apnea

People who suffer from snoring or sleep apnea are often unaware of the severity of their condition and the disruption it causes for those around them. Those who do seek treatment for their symptoms may feel as though medical therapy is the only solution. As a result, individuals who snore or experience sleep apnea may become overly dependent on medical technology as they seek to cure their disorders.

Snoring and other problems associated with sleep apnea are the result of airway obstruction, often from excess or relaxed throat tissue that vibrates during sleep. Treatments for snoring and sleep apnea are mostly focused on opening the airway to facilitate healthy breathing and prevent additional complications. These treatments range from nasal strips to full oral devices.

Less-intensive treatment options to open the nasal airway include nasal strips, decongestants, and over-the-counter nasal sprays. These options are not always effective, however, and can damage the lining of the nose or encourage dependence.

More-intensive medical treatments for snoring and sleep apnea include oral devices to bring the jaw forward and open the airway, although these may not fit well or may be uncomfortable to wear every night. Additionally, oral devices often have lower compliance rates that render them less effective. Surgery is sometimes suggested for severe snoring, but it is not very effective for reducing sleep apnea.

Medical research has recently emphasized the efficacy of behavioral methods instead of medication or surgery for treating sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea. Because approximately 56% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea are position-dependent snorers, many of those with this condition could benefit greatly from positional therapy enabling them to sleep on their side instead of on their back.

Other lifestyle changes can be a helpful supplement or an alternative to medical treatment for less-severe cases of snoring and sleep apnea, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and exercising.

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Reasons Why Snoring And Sleep Apnea Should Be Taken Seriously

Although snoring may seem like a normal-albeit annoying-habit, it can indicate serious health concerns. Loud and chronic snoring often suggests physiological disorders in the snorer, and the noisy condition can also create significant disruptions for the snorer and his or her bed partner. Consequently, “bad snoring is not a laughing matter. It can signify significant medical disease,” warns Kent Wilson of the University of Minnesota.

Snoring and sleep apnea are linked, even though the two conditions are sometimes different disorders. Not everyone who snores is suffering from sleep apnea. That being said, habitual snorers are at risk for other health issues, especially for obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when airflow through the mouth and nose is obstructed by tissue or similar structures.

Often, snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a critical sleep disorder involving the cessation of breathing in regular episodes. These episodes are usually followed by snoring, choking sounds, or gasping as the body attempts to restore airflow. If left untreated, chronic snoring and related sleep apnea can lead to serious limitations for your health and abilities.

Health risks involved with snoring and sleep apnea include restless sleep, cardiovascular strain, low blood oxygen, chronic headaches, and potential weight gain. Additionally, relationships between snorers and those around them can become tense if the snorer is the subject of teasing or if others become resentful after constant sleepless nights. Finally, safety issues are also an issue for those affected by snoring, as fatigue can increase your risk of accidents and injury.

If you are a heavy snorer (that is, if you snore constantly regardless of your sleeping position), see your doctor for an examination of your nose, mouth, throat, and neck to determine the cause of your snoring and address any related concerns like daytime fatigue. If you doctor suspects that you may have sleep apnea, he or she will likely suggest a sleep test or refer you to a sleep specialist.

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