Snoring – the not so silent killer

Millions of us suffer from heavy snoring. But how many realise that this could be a symptom of a potentially fatal medical condition called sleep apnea. Recent statistics suggest that up to 3.6 million people in the UK could be suffering from sleep apnea. This is a sleeping disorder that consists of brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. This is caused when the muscles in the mouth, throat and nose relax during sleep. This results in restricted air flow and potentially an airway blockage by the soft palate at the back of the mouth or by the uvula. Usually these interruptions result in paused breathing for up to 20 seconds.

Recent research suggests that sleep apnea can result in carotid atherosclerosis or strokes. People at particular risk are snorers who are heavy drinkers or who are overweight or suffering from heart disease. If you are in this high risk group it is important that you seek treatment to stop snoring.

Snoring is often caused by physical features such as a large uvula, which requires oral surgery. However it is much more common for the shape of an airway to influence snoring as a result of a pronounced overbite or other facial feature such as a recessed chin or small jaw. In these instances snoring aids can help to correct the airway shape to help reduce the chances of the tongue or soft palate restricting airflow and causing snoring. A mouth piece such as this will alleviate snoring and thus reduce sleep apnea and it’s potential to induce more serious conditions.

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