Habitual snoring is a strong indicator of sleep apnea, a dangerous medical condition that becomes more prevalent as we get older and gain weight and it could be deadly if left untreated, says an expert.
The disorder often goes undiagnosed or gets passed off as an irritation, with people being unaware that they are causing more damage to their health by not getting it treated, reported the online edition of health portal News Medical.
A recent study found that 34 percent of men are habitual snorers, said respiratory and sleep physician Linda Schachter.
Sleep apnea is potentially life threatening because the repetitive pauses in breathing could lead to the airway collapsing. These pauses can last 10 seconds or longer during sleep. Partners of snorers have often said that the sleep apnea sufferer would stop breathing in their sleep and choke or gasp on waking up.
'A person who may have sleep apnea often feels tired, they need to nap during the day, especially during moments of quiet activity, which we call 'excessive daytime sleepiness', and after waking up they often feel as if they have not slept at all,' said Schachter.
The physician recommends that individuals with symptoms of sleep apnea get diagnosed and treated early because if untreated, it could increase the risk for high blood pressure, heart attack and strokes.
It can also cause other serious health problems like fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness, which may lead to higher risk of motor vehicle accidents, personality changes, impotence and decreased memory.
Sleep apnea, insomnia and similar disorders can now be diagnosed by using a convenient portable sleep monitoring device in your own home, said Schachter, adding that 'treatments are also available'.