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1 Reason Snoring Can Be Dangerous and 4 Ways to Stop

If you or a loved one are notorious snorers, then you’re probably already aware that the noise alone is more than annoying. But did you know that sometimes snoring can be an indication of a health problem — especially if you have long periods of sleep apnea, when you stop breathing in-between? Time reports that this condition, known as “intermittent hypoxia,” is associated with a twofold increase in cardiovascular disease risk.

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Although there are some medical and surgical interventions, such as removing your uvula or wearing a special machine called a C-Pap to help keep you breathing normally through the night, there are three other things you can try at home before visiting the doctor.

Some 22 million Americans suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea, characterized by loud snoring, snorts and choking sounds that result from breath interruptions while you’re sleeping. What’s more, an estimated 80 percent of moderate to severe sleep apnea cases go undiagnosed — putting you at risk for heart disease as well as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and obesity.

Put plainly, snoring is often an early warning sign of sleep apnea. It is a serious health disorder that can be dangerous, and even life-threatening, when untreated. Even children can be affected. So, what can you do to address this problem before you get to the doctor?

If your child has chronic sleep issues, is a mouth breather or snores, you most definitely want to get them evaluated by a medical professional to see they may be suffering from sleep apnea.

You might also consider orofacial myofunctional therapy, which involves the neuromuscular reeducation or repatterning of their oral and facial muscles. It includes facial and tongue exercises and behavior modification techniques to promote proper tongue position, improved breathing, chewing and swallowing. For adults who suspect they may be suffering from sleep apnea, you will want to seek the help of a qualified sleep specialist. Ask your general practitioner for a recommendation, but don't be afraid to look beyond the conventional treatments, such as:

1. Buteyko Breathing Method: Named after the Russian doctor who developed it, the Buteyko technique can be used to reverse health problems caused by improper breathing, including sleep apnea. You might be surprised to learn that when it comes to how you breathe, your diet may play a bigger role than you may have imagined.

2. Weight loss: If you are obese, you can dramatically improve the effects of sleep apnea by losing weight, which will reduce pressure on your abdomen and chest, thereby allowing your breathing muscles to function more normally.

3. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and other drugs, including nicotine: Be aware of the effects these substances, particularly if used every day and close to bedtime, are very likely having on your sleep.

4. Sleep on your side or raise the head of your bed to help prevent your airways from collapsing.

While you still may need the help of a qualified professional to address snoring issues, even small adjustments to your daily routine and sleep area can make a big difference, such as elevating your head.

Other things that can help include developing a relaxing pre-sleep routine such as turning off electronics at least one hour before bed, addressing nasal congestion that may be contributing to your snoring and avoiding heavy meals at night.

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