Heart attack: if you do this while sleeping your risk is higher than smokers, BP patients
Sleep Apnea Can Occur From Snoring And Be Life-threatening | Photo credit: iStock images
- In obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), weight on the upper chest and neck helps block air flow.
- If you have central sleep apnea (ASC), your brain fails to send regular signals to the diaphragm to contract and expand.
- When the airflow stops, the body releases stress hormones which, over time, can lead to heart disease.
Snoring is often used as a source of laughter by those who watch from afar, used as a point of ridicule and even intimidation. But is it really a fun factor?
If unfortunately you do suffer from it, your snoring can keep you awake, ruining your sleep cycle and daily routine, and even harm your relationships. But more than just annoyance, snoring can have fatal consequences, warns the American Heart Association (AHA).
According to the AHA, snoring is that annoying sound that occurs when air passes through the relaxed tissues of your throat while you sleep. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person’s breathing begins and stops repeatedly during sleep. He cautions, however, that not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea, but many who do suffer from sleep apnea snore regularly – and loudly. One in five adults has at least mild sleep apnea; it affects more men than women, according to the AHA report.
Picture this: You have had a tiring day in the office – or in the field – whatever your area of work. The only thing you really want after a grueling day at work is a shower, a quick dinner, and then crash into your bed. But instead, this is what is happening.
The pattern of sleep apnea:
- When you fall asleep you find yourself awakened by a sudden snoring – your own snoring!
- Or your partner pushes you to wake up to turn around – so your snoring stops or decreases.
If this sounds familiar to you, it’s time to see a doctor and find out if you might be affected by sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure, arrhythmia, stroke, and heart failure.
When it comes to heart health, we hear a lot about hypertension, diabetes, stress, poor diet, lifestyle, etc. as regular causes. The rarely discussed risk factor is excessive snoring, which obstructs the passage of air and causes sleep apnea. A series of studies investigating the effects of sleep on the heart has illustrated the dangers of sleep apnea.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts again several times. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you could be suffering from sleep apnea.
The main types of sleep apnea are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form that occurs when the throat muscles relax
- Central sleep apnea, which happens when your brain is not sending appropriate signals to the muscles that control breathing
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome, also known as treatment emergent central sleep apnea, occurs when a person has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea
According to Express.co.uk, a study published in the journal The Laryngoscope in 2013 showed that the carotid arteries of snorers had thickened artery walls. This swelling of the walls suggested damage due to trauma and inflammation caused by the vibrations of snoring.
Express.co.uk also mentions that other studies had previously suggested an opposite causal effect – suggesting that arterial damage was in fact the cause of sleep apnea.
The researchers suggested that arterial damage came first, decreasing the amount of oxygen in the blood, which in turn caused breathing problems.
SNORING A BIGGER RISK THAN SMOKING, STRESS:
The results of the study suggest that snoring is a greater risk factor for stroke and heart attack than smoking, being overweight or having high cholesterol.
Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common form of the disease, is caused by the collapse or blockage of the upper airways during sleep.
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, arrhythmias, diabetes, and obesity.
In obese or overweight people, the amount of fat in the throat can make the problem worse. Its association with obesity can be part of a vicious cycle, some experts say, in which the sleep deprivation it causes can lead to even more obesity, which in turn makes the disease sick.
When to consult a doctor :
If you think you have sleep apnea, see your doctor. Treatment can ease your symptoms and can help prevent heart problems and other complications. The doctor may also be able to determine if there are other undiagnosed health problems, such as liver problems, metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, etc.
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting a fitness program or making any changes to your diet.