Is snoring a common problem? Is it harmful?
Snoring occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the upper airway, causing the soft tissue at the back of the throat to flap and vibrate as we breathe. Snoring can be a symptom of a disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), especially if it is accompanied by severe daytime sleepiness.
OSA is when recurrent pauses in breathing prevent air flowing normally into or out of a sleeping persons airways. These pauses can reduce blood oxygen levels, strain the heart, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and cause hypertension (high blood pressure).
The associated sleep disruption from snoring can cause daytime sleepiness, reduced ability to concentrate and focus, mood disturbances and increased risk of motor vehicle accidents.
Snoring is a common problem and has been for some time. It is sometimes seen as a laughing mater, however realisation to the seriousness of snoring has been helped with increased public awareness over recent years. Medical practitioners also now have more comprehensive services available to them, to investigate sleep disorders and strive for better health in their patients.