A quick look at some of the recent medical articles on the web lately will show that snoring is making headlines. No longer is it the plight of the restless wife who has to deal with her husband’s freight-train sounding snoring, or is it the burden of the tossing and turning husband who endures the cacophonous roar of his wife’s snoring—it is now the responsibility of every snorer out there to look into their own health. Recent research has found that snorers, even those considered light snorers, may be more at risk for cardiovascular health problems (Tachyarrhythmia, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Biventricular Pacemaker, Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator, etc.) due to the hardening of arteries in the neck.
The study was done at Detroit’s Henry Ford hospital and focused on 913 patients from different demographics. All of the patients were between 18 and 50 years old, and none of them suffered from obstructive sleep apnea, another disease linked to snoring. Researchers monitored sleep patterns and essentially grouped the 900 patients into two different groups: snorers and non-snorers. What they found was that the snorers had thicker arterial walls in the carotid area.
If you’ve ever checked anybody’s pulse, you know where the carotid artery is. It’s that big, pulsing spot on either side of your throat/windpipe, and is one of the most important arteries in your body. It supplies your brain with blood. When carotid artery walls thicken, a person may be at higher risk of carotid artery disease, which is a condition in which the carotid narrows and can even become blocked, resulting in less oxygen to the brain and even in stroke. There are other risk factors that can lead to cardiovascular disease, such as obesity, cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and others, but the researchers were unable to link any of these to the thickening of the carotid arterial wall. For more info check our “What is IABP” article.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring has also been linked to obstructive sleep apnea, a much more well-known condition related to the realm of sleep. Those that snore should not only be concerned about thickened arterial walls, but they should also be aware of the dangers posed by sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when soft-tissue in the back of the throat obstructs the airway, halting breathing in the middle of the night and causing the body and brain to suffer from a lack of oxygen. Most people that have sleep apnea don’t know that they have it (because it happens while you are sleeping), so consider consulting a physician if you or your partner suffers from chronic snoring.
How Can I Stop Snoring?
There are a couple of ways that you can naturally stop your snoring including:
- Sleeping in a different position, on your side or your stomach
- Not eating as much before you go to bed
- Losing weight if you are overweight
- Putting a humidifier in your room, or using hydrating nasal sprays
- Reducing/Quitting smoking if you are a smoker
There are plenty of other resources out there when it comes to how to stop snoring, one of my favorites being the HERE. Also a good way to find more about this topic is this article about anti-snoring device.