19.02.2013 Health & Fitness

Snoring: a possible indication of heart disease and reduced sexual urge

19.02.2013 LISTEN
By Joy News | Mercy Catherine Adjabeng

If you're a habitual snorer, you should consider seeing a doctor because you could be at risk for severe heart failure or a reduced sexual urge.

Experts warn that in addition to depriving people of their sleep, causing daytime drowsiness and a lack of focus, snoring should not be treated as a mere bedtime annoyance because it may be an early indication of heart related diseases.

Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed during sleep. This may result from a cold, an allergy, body weight, the anatomy of one's mouth and sinuses, or alcohol consumption. Though snoring can occur in anyone, including children, it is interesting to note that it occurs more in men than women.

Speaking to Joy News, Dr. Rita Larsen-Reindorf, Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, warned of the dangers and advised snorers to seek medical attention early.

According to her, after snoring for a while, the condition can become severe, resulting in difficulty in breathing due to inadequate oxygen in the blood, also known as apnea. Episodes of apnea compel the heart to overwork by pumping blood to the lungs for oxygen. Overtime, the strain experienced by the heart causes it to wear out. This can result in heart failure, enlargement of the heart, an irregular heartbeat or hypertension.

Dr Larsen-Reindorf further explains that the combination of inadequate sleep, low oxygen levels in the blood, and stress to the the bodily senses causes the body to release stress hormones, making blood vessels become narrower. “It is the constriction of the blood vessels impeding normal functioning of the heart that leads to all the heart related disease due to the strain on the heart.”

She maintains that snorers should seek medical attention because it's been found that 4 out of 10 snorers who experience cessations of breathing during sleep can develop heart related diseases.

“Adult snorers are prone to low performance at work and at a higher risk of causing work place and road accidents due to the drowsiness and lack of concentration. Children snorers may be moody, irritable and exhibit aggressive behaviour, ultimately affecting their performance at school due to lack of rest and focus.”

Snoring also disrupts marital harmony and reduces sexual urge. She explained that “while non-snoring partners feel irritated and victimized, the snorers feel irritable and lonely. In extreme cases, partners end up in separate bedrooms resulting in lack of physical intimacy.”

Additionally, she said, “snoring that is associated with shortness of breath due to inadequate oxygen in the blood is perceived as stress by the body.” That stress reduces one's sexual urge and energy, resulting in a low libido.

So rather than sacking your snoring partner from the room or spending sleepless nights elbowing him/her, seek medical attention. It could well be a signal of cardiovascular disease, including an impending stroke, or worst still could destroy your intimacy.

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