Snoring Consequences…A Sign Of Severe Medical Problems?


Emotionally, a lot of heartache is caused by snoring. Married couples sleep in different rooms or even get divorced over the problem. Besides the unpleasant noise that keeps those in near proximity from sleeping, it can be a sign of severe medical problems. Young, or old, thin, or overweight, if you snore you have a good chance of having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Think of snoring as the tip of the ice berg. If you snore you may have destructive medical issues, undiagnosed, that you are not aware of YET. OSA can be a direct contributor to acquiring hypertension, cardiovascular disease, headaches, respiratory conditions (especially asthma), diabetes, gastroesophageal acid reflux disease (GERD) and all with weight gain. It also places you at high risk of stroke, and congestive heart failure.

With children, snoring at night often is resolved by the removal of oversized tonsils and expanding the dental arch to allow of more nasal breathing instead of mouth breathing. Exclusive mouth breathing can lead to improper facial growth, shiners with long faces and retruded lower jaws. Think of snoring like a jack hammer on the other side of a wall. Before long everything vibrates off the wall and then the wall crumbles. Our carotid arteries are on right next to our airways. Snoring vibrates your whole airway and your carotid arteries to excess and inflammation sets in. Then a cascade of events leads to artery disease and the high risk of stroke.

As a dentist that is trained in the recognition of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea, I make it a part of my oral examinations to look not only at the teeth but at the area of the back of the mouth (uvula, tonsillar area, upper pharynx) for sign of inflammation. Then with a few key questions I can determine if it is prudent to refer to an M.D. sleep specialist who may refer the patient back to me to make a sleep orthotic instead of wearing a C-PAP machine. Snoring is not just annoying it can kill you.