A snoring person is not only the cause of insomnia of loved ones and family members, who become involuntary listeners of the loud, iridescent trills he publishes, but can also unwittingly endanger their lives at night.
Ronchopathy – this is the scientific name for a symptom in which there is a violation of the passage of air through the upper respiratory tract, accompanied by an unpleasant, low-frequency sound. These sounds are more likely to occur on inhalation, but sometimes exhale snoring is also encountered. The consequences of snoring are not at all harmless: patients may experience respiratory arrest during sleep, heart rhythm disturbances, and other health problems. In order to understand why snoring is dangerous, you should know the mechanism of its formation and the causes of its occurrence.
The mechanism of occurrence and the reasons for the formation of snoring
When a person falls asleep, all of his muscles relax, including the muscles of the upper respiratory tract. This occurs with an excessive decrease in tone, sagging of the muscles of the tongue, soft palate, tissues of the pharynx, nasopharynx, or with pathological obstruction of the upper respiratory system.
Due to the sagging of soft tissues, narrowing of the airways, the passing air begins to vibrate – a sound effect is formed when snoring. When the soft palate, uvula or tongue completely blocks the breathing tube, the patient, instead of inhaling, holds his breath – an episode of apnea occurs, this is an extremely dangerous complication of snoring for health.
The reasons and pathologies for which it is difficult for the patient to breathe during sleep due to chronic snoring are as follows:
- Enlargement of the uvula of the soft palate (often seen with overweight).
- Anatomical features: anomalies in the development of the lower jaw ( micrognathia ), malposition of the hyoid bone.
- The proliferation of lymphoid tissue in the throat and nose: adenoids, tonsil hypertrophy, lymphoproliferative diseases.
- Tumors and cysts in the pharynx, soft tissues of the palate.
- Chronic and infectious inflammatory lesions of the respiratory tract: rhinitis, tracheitis, bronchitis.
- Difficulty in nasal breathing due to curvature or deformation of the nasal septum.
- Hypertrophy of the tongue (often found in acromegaly).
- Central mechanisms of respiratory dysregulation due to brain damage of inflammatory, infectious, drug origin.
The predisposing factors that can provoke snoring are: age over 50, alcohol abuse, taking tranquilizers, burdened heredity, the onset of menopause.
When asked “is snoring dangerous?” any health worker will give an affirmative answer, the harm of snoring has long been proven and scientifically substantiated.
Sleep apnea syndrome
Snoring and sleep apnea are serious problems. During sleep, the patient experiences respiratory arrest, which can last up to 10 seconds. Sometimes holding your breath during sleep can be fatal. But more often, with the development of apnea and the onset of hypoxia, the body goes into a stage of more superficial sleep, reflexively, the tone of the muscles of the mouth, pharynx increases, and the patency of the airways is restored.
Such episodes of apnea can be repeated many times throughout the night, they disrupt sleep, change the duration of its phases, patients wake up repeatedly, during the day they are pursued by drowsiness, apathy.
You can suspect sleep apnea syndrome in yourself or a loved one snoring at night by the following clinical signs:
- Fatigue, weakness in the morning hours, lack of vigor, energy after waking up.
- Sleepiness during the day.
- Morning headaches, recurrent pains in the neck, occiput, disturbing throughout the day.
- Decreased memory, irritability.
These are indirect symptoms, in the presence of which, in combination with snoring, you should consult a doctor.
The peculiarities of snoring in apnea syndrome is the frequency, as well as the onset of silent pauses after periods of loud, intense sounding. It is during these pauses that breathing stops.
Complications from the cardiovascular system
In many patients, breathing disorder during snoring is accompanied by rhythm disturbances: sinus arrhythmia, bradycardia with a decrease in heart rate to 30-40 beats per minute, heart block may develop .
Rhythm disturbances are more common in older people with apnea syndrome. Against the background of this pathology, there are frequent cases of the development of heart attacks, strokes, sudden cardiac death.
Snoring with frequent elements of respiratory arrest and hypoxia is able to trigger a cascade of biochemical reactions in the body, which have a vasoconstrictor effect on the arteries, arterioles, which may result in the development of arterial hypertension. High blood pressure is also an adverse effect of sleep disturbances.
Vascular spasm in the pulmonary circulation due to hypoxemia (lack of supplied oxygen) leads to an increase in pressure in the pulmonary artery system, the formation of a chronic pulmonary heart.
Airway obstruction, oxygen “hunger”, lack of O2 are accompanied by spasm of peripheral arteries, leading to a decrease in testosterone secretion.
These changes provoke erectile dysfunction even in young men. In patients, libido decreases, sexual weakness develops.
Sometimes problems in the genital area are aggravated by bedwetting (enuresis). This significantly worsens the quality of life of patients, their social adaptation, leads to the emergence of complexes, psychological problems.
Impaired memory and attention
Changes in sleep phases, frequent awakenings, a lack of oxygen entering the vessels of the brain lead to a disorder in the functioning of the central nervous system, which is manifested by a decrease in memory, concentration, and a deterioration in intellectual abilities.
These symptoms are accompanied by increased irritability, altered labile states (patients are often whiny or too apathetic).
Sometimes the degree of fatigue due to frequent awakenings from snoring and respiratory arrest at night is so high that patients may fall asleep during their lunch break or while driving.
Research has shown that drivers with sleep apnea and snoring at night are 3 times more likely to have car accidents than others.
Snoring is not always a harmless physiological phenomenon. Taking a pathological form, it can lead to diseases of the body, which can cost the patient’s life. What is the danger of snoring in a dream, everyone should know. When it appears, it is better to undergo a timely diagnosis of the body to identify the causes of snoring.