The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How Snoring Can Be Very Deadly

Snoring Can Be Deadly

Snoring is a very common occurrence, particularly with men. In most cases, it is just annoying. However, habitual snorers can be at risk for serious health problems when snoring leads to obstructive sleep apnea. Here is the difference between the two.

Snoring is caused by an obstruction of the flow of air through the mouth and nose and can be caused by any number of conditions. It can include a deviated septum, which is a change or deformity in the wall that separates the nostrils. It can be caused by allergies and sinus infections. Children with large tonsils and adenoids often snore. Throat and tongue muscles that are very relaxed due to alcohol consumption or sleeping pills often produce snoring. All of these causes are not deadly.

Sleep apnea occurs when breathing is actually interrupted for 10 seconds or longer. People who have sleep apnea usually do not get a good night's sleep. Sleep apnea can also produce dangerous side affects such as higher blood pressure, which can put patients at higher risks of heart attack and stroke.

Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea, and African Americans under 35 are much more likely to experience sleep apnea than any other race. Sleep apnea is considered a serious medical condition. Patients who believe they have symptoms of sleep apnea should consult with their primary physician as soon as possible. Their doctor may also refer them to a sleep specialist. Some of the treatments for sleep apnea include wearing a mask called a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) that keeps airway passages open, or other airway pressure devices. In some cases, surgery may help by removing excess tissue that is blocking air passage.

Other ways in which sleep apnea and/or snoring can be helped include:
  • Sleeping on your side
  • Avoiding alcohol right before bedtime
  • Not taking sedative medications at night (both alcohol and drugs will make sleep apnea worse)
  • Being aware if sleep apnea makes you drowsy while driving, and avoiding driving if drowsy
DISCLAIMER: The content or opinions expressed on this web site are not to be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before utilizing any suggestions on this web site.
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