Dangers of Sleep ApneaSleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition that many sufferers don’t know they have. Because episodes of waking occur during sleep, you may not notice them, even though they can happen hundreds of times a night. Snoring typically gets noticed because it’s loud and disruptive, and it should be treated as a warning sign.
People with sleep apnea have at least a 50% increased mortality risk. Some studies show that people with sleep apnea are six times more likely to die in the near future. Sleep apnea is linked with increased risk of:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Heart failure
- Depression and other mood disorders
- Car accidents
Many of these conditions contribute to an increased mortality risk, although cardiovascular conditions are the most dangerous. Cardiovascular problems account for the majority of deaths related to sleep apnea.
But even if you have simple snoring without sleep apnea, you will likely experience an elevated cardiovascular risk. Snoring causes vibrations that lead to tiny injuries of the arteries. These injuries heal and scar, which contributes to hardening of the arteries, and can speed the development of arterial plaque–clogged arteries.
As a result, snoring is a serious risk factor for coronary artery disease, which can lead to both heart failure and stroke.
If you sleep with a snorer, you’ve probably asked more than one time why their snoring doesn’t wake them up. It may give you cold comfort to know that it does. In fact, they probably wake up as much or more than you do. But because they’re deep in sleep, they often fall back asleep again without knowing it.
People who sleep with a snorer may lose an hour of sleep or more a night. Snorers themselves lose less quantity of sleep, but their quality of sleep is often more seriously affected because they are unable to reach or maintain deep sleep levels necessary for restoration. Sleep deprivation is responsible for many of the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as depression, memory problems, lack of drive, and more.
Because snorers aren’t getting good quality sleep, they are at an increased risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Although most studies of increased accident risk have focused specifically on sleep apnea, several have shown that snorers are at an increased risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. The risk is especially high for snorers who routinely get six hours of sleep or less a night.
Studies have not focused on snoring and workplace accident risk. But, like sleep apnea, it’s likely that snoring increases the risk of workplace accidents, especially vigilance-related accidents.
Take Your Snoring Seriously
If you are a snorer, you should take your snoring seriously. Effective treatment is available, and it can be noninvasive–no need for surgery or drugs. Most people with simple snoring see great results from an oral appliance–like a mouthguard worn at night–when properly fitted by a sleep dentist.
To learn if this simple, noninvasive treatment can work for your snoring in Detroit, please call (248) 656-2020 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at Rochester Advanced Dentistry.