If you snore, you may be embarrassed about it or reluctant to look into bulky CPAP masks as a means to prevent breathing problems. The health risks associated with snoring are serious, though, and it's important to find out whether you're just snoring or if you have sleep apnea. Likewise, if you're sleeping next to someone who snores, you may be motivated to help them regulate their night-time breathing. Health risks associated with sleep apnea - or even light snoring - should be a wake-up call to seek help for yourself or a loved one.
Though sleep apnea and snoring are different things, both are disruptive to the snorer's sleep and those who have to listen to them. As to why you snore, it could be congestion, a deviated septum, or some other airway obstruction, which then leads to impeded breathing.
If you aren't sure if your snoring is sleep apnea, there are simple tests you can find online to determine what kind of snoring you're experiencing. Or you can get a sleep study done to ensure you have nothing to worry about, as even light snoring may be a cause for concern. Either way, there are simple things you can do to alleviate your snoring without medical intervention, like cutting back on drinking, losing weight, or even altering your sleeping position.
Sleep apnea and snoring are different things. Sleep apnea is when you momentarily stop breathing or breathe slowly. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type and is the result of a blocked airway. If you have OSA, it's unlikely that you know it, though you may suspect you have sleeping issues if you're frequently fatigued during the day. Someone who sleeps in the same bed as you is sure to know if you gasp for air at night, though.
According to Huffington Post, snoring is usually caused by vibration - either by your uvula, palate, or tongue. Obstructions in the nasal area, like a deviated septum, can also cause snoring. If you snore, that doesn't mean you have sleep apnea - about 50% of adults snore, but only 1 in 15 have sleep apnea. It's also worth noting that someone with sleep apnea doesn't necessarily snore.
Interrupted sleep can lead to an influx of cancerous cells, it can make it harder for your body to combat cancer, and it can even make tumors grow faster. A group of immune system cells associated with tumors falls into two groups: M1 and M2. The former helps fight cancer, while the latter spurs tumor growth.
A University of Chicago study showed that interrupted sleep was associated with more M2-type cells.
Your brain needs to rest, and if it doesn't get that rest, your memory may suffer. CBS News reports those who snore or have breathing problems while they sleep may develop dementia, a decline in cognitive abilities, or suffer from memory problems earlier than the average person.
Researchers looked at 2,500 people, ranging from those with normal brain function to those with Alzheimer's, and found that individuals with sleep apnea began experiencing cognitive issues about 10 years earlier than those without the disorder.
People who snore are more likely to have thickened or abnormal carotid arteries compared to those who are overweight or smoke, according to Medical News Today. Carotid arteries are responsible for transporting oxygen to the head and neck.
Snoring causes inflammation, and inflammation can prompt these kinds of adverse changes in the carotid arteries.