February 5, 2019 – Because of the way their bodies are constructed, men snore more than women, but that is not the least of the reasons to be interested in this much discussed and debated subject. There are negative health considerations linked to snoring. These were the topic Houston based neurologist and founder of the Houston Healthcare Initiative, Dr. Steven Goldstein, covered with his podcast listeners this week. The Houston Healthcare Initiative Podcast can be heard on Soundcloud, Libsyn, iTunes, and www.houstonhealthcareinitiative.org. Beyond the gender-based differences, Dr. Goldstein says that snoring is bad for Houstonians.

Reasons Snoring Is Bad For Health

  1. People who snore do not get enough sleep. Occasional snoring is only an annoyance to you and possibly your partner. Chronic snoring however is a different issue as it will disrupt the snorers sleep patterns and those of his partner. Getting enough sleep is extremely important to physical and mental health.
  2. People who snore are far more likely to have cardio/pulmonary diseases including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and even heart attacks. There is medical information that states people with sleep apnea are twice as likely to have both nonfatal heart disease events and fatal heart attacks.
  3. Sleep disorders like apnea and snoring can also impact mental health. This could be everything from feeling cranky to serious depression. A recent study of 74 snorers showed that the more daytime sleepiness people report, the greater their chances of also having mild depression or anxiety symptoms. Medical science does not fully understand the relationship between sleep quality and depression but treating sleep apnea does seem to help ease depression.
  4. Strokes are linked to snoring. Strokes are among the most serious health conditions that can come from intense snoring. In one study the intensity of snoring was related to the risk of carotid atherosclerosis — narrowing of the arteries in the neck due to fatty deposits called plaque — and as a result, stroke. Simply put, the louder and longer you snore each night, the greater your long-term risk for a stroke.

But What Causes Snoring?

Dr. Goldstein pointed out that anyone can snore. “A stuffy nose can block the airways and cause someone to breathe through their mouth, he told his audience. “So, if you snore and have a stuffy nose during allergy season, that may be the cause.” He went on, “but ultimately, people who snore are likely overweight or obese because of the changes to the anatomy extra weight causes.”

More specifically, being overweight can cause the tissue in the throat to be bulkier than it is on people who are not overweight or obese. A fatter neck compresses the airway and squeezes it even more when lying down. So, the larger one’s neck is, the more likely they are to snore.

Another source of airway compression is fat around the middle body. Belly fat pushes up on the diaphragm and chest fat compresses the ribcage. Both of these shrink the amount of air the lungs will hold. Lower lung capacity restricts airflows and leads to snoring because more air is needed to maintain the correct shape of the throat during sleep. Less airflow means the wrong shape of the throat and snoring.

Which Is Easier To Treat?

When asked which of any of these ailments was easier to treat compared to losing weight, Dr. Goldstein stated emphatically that it was weight loss. “I’m a neurologist and I can tell you first hand that seeing people who had a stroke because of their weight issues require a great deal of treatment,” he said. “Stroke victims can lose motor functions, cognitive ability and even die. Losing weight is challenging but nothing compared to any of these.”

To Learn More

The Houston Healthcare Initiative (HHI) is a non-profit, member owned medical cooperative that combines affordable health pricing with personal accountability and lifestyle incentives. With a single payment, members pay monthly into two separate accounts. To learn more visit the company website http://houstonhealthcareinitiative.org.