Couples commonly pick on each other about snoring, but few realize how serious the problems are that can come along with loud snoring that occurs on a regular basis. Chronic, loud snoring can be a warning sign for a very serious, and potentially life-threatening, sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea.
It is estimated that 32 percent of adults in the United States snore at least a few nights a week, and 24 percent say they snore every night. While not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, as many as 18 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
What separates sleep apnea and snoring is that sleep apnea includes short periods of interrupted breathing. Sometimes this may be accompanied by a gasping or choking sound. If you snore and have excessive daytime sleepiness, you should seek the opinion of a doctor familiar with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea contributes to the following:
- Reduced oxygen levels
- Strain on the heart
- Strain on the cardiovascular system
- Increased risk for cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Memory loss
- Falling asleep while driving
If you or your partner suffers from snoring, call Atlanta ENT today to schedule a consultation.
Ramie A. Tritt, MD, President, Atlanta ENT