We often mention that snoring needs to be checked out because it is one of the most common signs of sleep apnea. But even if you don’t have sleep apnea, snoring can be damaging to your health.

Snoring and Stroke

Sleep apnea can cause significant injury to your heart because the intermittent pauses in breathing make your brain signal your heart to work harder. Snoring causes more direct damage to your blood vessels, increasing your risk of stroke.

Husband keeping wife up with snoring

The primary source of vibration in many people’s snoring is the throat. The vibrations from your throat shake everything in your neck, including the carotid arteries, the two large arteries that supply blood to your brain.

Snoring causes atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries. Atherosclerosis is commonly known as hardened or clogged arteries. Heavy snoring, even without sleep apnea, can increase your risk of hardened carotid arteries by 10 times!

Stroke occurs when part of the buildup, or “plaque” in your arteries breaks off and lodges itself in your brain.

How Snoring Causes Hardened Arteries

A study showed that snoring is only associated with hardening of the carotid arteries, not the femoral arteries, which reduces the likelihood that the problem is just weight gain or cholesterol. Instead, there is a direct mechanism that links snoring and hardening of the arteries. Two have been proposed.

First, it’s possible that the violent vibrations from heavy snoring cause tiny cracks to develop in the carotid arteries. These tiny cracks heal, forming scar tissue. Scar tissue hardens the artery and leads to plaque buildup.

Second, snoring could cause turbulence in the blood. This turbulence reduces your blood’s ability to carry cholesterol and other substances, which get deposited in the carotid arteries.

Once there are deposits in your carotid arteries, snoring can weaken or dislodge them, leading to stroke.

Treat Snoring Seriously

Snoring isn’t just a nuisance, it may be a serious health risk. If you are a snorer, you need to be evaluated for sleep apnea. And even if you don’t have sleep apnea, consider getting treatment for snoring so you can avoid hardened arteries and stroke.

To learn more about protecting your health with effective, convenient snoring treatment in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center today.