Do you snore at night? Do you have a hard time sleeping that it affects your mood and productivity during the day?

Although snoring can be caused by different factors, Dr. Atul Malhotra of UC San Diego School of Medicine noted that “the louder the snoring is, the more likely the diagnosis is sleep apnea.” Sleep apnea, or the involuntary cessation of breathing while sleeping , occurs when loud snoring alternates with obstructive breathing during the night. Although 18 million adults have sleep apnea, you should never take this common disorder for granted.

Unseen Effects to Health

More than disrupting peaceful sleep, snoring may also leave long-term impacts to your health.

The obstructive episodes of breathing reduces level of oxygen in the blood. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the change in the levels of blood oxygen may result to inflammation and lead to buildup of plaque in the blood vessels called atherosclerosis. This inflammation may also lead to heart attack or stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Snoring and sleep apnea can also affect cognitive functions such as memory, attention span, and ability to recollect specific details of events upon reaching old age.

Physical Damages to you and to others

Another serious danger of snoring is the daytime sleepiness or drowsiness that can put you and the people around you at risk.

Drowsy driving is one of the leading cause of fatal car crashes, causing 800-900 deaths, 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries per year . This is because drowsiness as a result of lack of sleep reduces alertness, slows reaction time, and affects your ability to make right decisions.

Drivers who have untreated sleep disorders like sleep apnea are among those who are at most risk as people who slept less than 6 hours at night are more likely to fall asleep during driving.

You may think that snoring is just a simple problem at night that can be forgotten as the sun rises. However, studies and statistics show otherwise as it can cause injuries and unnoticed effects.

If you experience sleep apnea symptoms, don’t hesitate to visit your physician and improve your health. There are several ways to treat snoring and sleep apnea before these conditions cause further injuries.