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Snorer Photo

Snoring

--It's More Than An Irritating Noise

When you fall asleep, the muscles in the throat relax. In the snorer, the relaxed muscles of the airway narrows enough to force the air to speed up. The sound of snoring comes from the uvula, the back of the tongue and the other soft tissues of the throat flapping as speeding air passes over them when you breathe during sleep. It's very much like the sound a flag makes when it waves in the wind.

Snoring-anatomy diagram

The relaxed muscles and narrow airway can lead to airway blockage, which is the root cause of all snoring problems. When you snore, your airway is partially blocked by the soft tissues in the back of the throat, the back of the tongue and by the soft palate and uvula. This causes a decrease of air flow to the lungs. A decrease in air flow causes a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Experts estimate that 30% of adults snore on a regular basis with up to 50% adults occasionally snore. Men snore at twice the rate of women. The rate of snoring increases with:

Not Good for the Relationship ...

If you are kept awake night after night by a bed partner's snoring, you are not getting the sleep you need. Sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, muddled thinking, illness, poor performance at work and drowsy driving. The effect of the noise on a sleeping partner of a snorer can raise blood pressure in direct relation to the intensity of the noise. High blood pressure is a known risk factor for stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and dementia. Often when a spouse is disturbed by snoring, they move to a separate bedroom. Studies point out that 80% of snoring couples slept apart. Living with a snorer can strain even the most dedicated relationship leading to dissension and in some case, divorce.

Medical problems associated with snoring:

Repeated deprivation of oxygen to the brain can cause high blood pressure which can damage the carotid arteries on each side of the neck. The carotid arteries carry oxygen to the brain. The damage can lead to the development of cholesterol and calcium containing plaque which further restricts blood flow to the brain and can lead to stroke. A report from the University of California School of Dentistry found that 21% of men who snore had hardened blockages in their carotid arteries. As snoring gets worse, it can develop into obstructive sleep apnea. And now a new study has shown that loud snoring itself can have devastating consequences. An article published in March, 2008* stated that loud snorers had 40% greater odds of having hypertension, 34 % greater odds of having a heart attack and 67 % greater odds of having a stroke than people who did not snore.*


*American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2008, March 1). Snoring Linked To Cardiovascular Disease, Increased Health-care Utilization.