Snoring—An Early Sign of Health Risks

Don’t ignore it!!  It’s more that just an annoyance in the bedroom.  If you snore, you may be putting yourself at a greater risk of abnormalities in your carotid arteries.  They are the ones that go to your brain along the sides of your neck. 

These abnormalities are an increased thickening in the lining of the carotid arteries; this thickening is a precursor to atherosclerosis—hardening of the arteries.  So, if your bed partner snores, don’t kick him/her out of the bedroom—seek medical treatment. 

The first place to start is to have a sleep test to rule out obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder.  This occurs when the airway collapses during sleep.  This causes the loud snoring and pauses in breathing.  Snoring causes trauma to the carotid arteries due to the vibrations resulting in inflammation.

We now have studies which show evidence of a link between the snoring and risks to the cardiovascular system.  If you smoke, have elevated cholesterol, or are overweight, the risk is not as great as if you snore!

Oral appliance therapy and CPAP are both treatments for OSA and can reduce the symptoms of snoring and OSA.  In oral appliance therapy, a small mouthpiece worn at night keeps the tongue forward off the airway, keeping the airway open.  In CPAP therapy, a mask is worn on the face during the night to provide pressurized air to keep the airway open; the patient’s airway is blown up like a balloon and held open with the pressure.

But before any therapy can begin, a patient must get a diagnosis of OSA from a certified sleep physician.  The process can be a bit confusing.  Our office can help patients navigate the system.  Make a free consultation appointment today.