Loud snoring sometimes leads to sleeping alone. But worse than that, it may indicate that you are suffering from sleep apnea, a condition in which a sleeping person’s airway closes and causes breathing to stop.
Untreated, the broken sleep patterns and low blood oxygen levels can lead to side effects such as hypertension, heart disease, insomnia as well as mood and memory problems.
“When the airway closes, the blood oxygen level drops. So it’s really no different than me coming in and putting my hands around your neck,” says Dr. Thomas LoRusso of the Northern Virginia Sleep Diagnostic Center.
A device called a CPAP, continuous positive airway pressure device, is sometimes used to blow air into the airways to keep them open while the patient sleeps.
According to Vitals.com, Dr. LoRusso received his medical degree at State University of New York Upstate and completed his residency in Pulmonary Disease at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
The National Sleep Foundation estimates that more than 18 million adults have sleep apnea, but many think they are just snoring exceptionally loud.
“When snoring starts to affect your daily habits, you should see a doctor. And if you have a bed partner, ask whether he or she has noticed any choking or gasping while you snore. The person you sleep with, many times, knows your snoring better than you.”
LoRusso suggests that lifestyle changes can actually prevent sleep apnea.
“Cut out the alcohol and watch your weight. Losing pounds can cure sleep apnea. If you smoke, quit smoking, it creates swelling in the upper airway making apnea worse. In some cases changing these factors can eliminate sleep apnea completely.”