An Overview of Snoring Issues in Elderly People

There is no denying the fact that the body of a person gets weak as he/she gets older and they are more likely to experience a number of physical changes. Elder people usually focus on age-related issues such as skin loosening, thinning of hair, muscle swelling, etc. However, people usually fail to notice the changes that occur in their sleeping patterns. In fact, the frequency and intensity of snoring also tends to increase with age.

Usually, the body of a person relaxes naturally and loses its muscle tone with age. When the muscles and soft tissues at the back of the tongue and throat relax, it will fall back into the air passage. This constricted airway will eventually lead to vibration of the respiratory structure or snoring. For seniors, snoring is actually a common thing, but immediate medical assistance is recommended in case it happens regularly. Otherwise, it may lead to many other serious health issues too.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders triggered by regular snoring episodes. In this condition, the affected person tends to wake up frequently during sleep with a loud gasp. Apart from this, chronic headaches, arrhythmia, lack of energy, GERD, etc., are also some of the health issues related to snoring in elderly people. Below are the in-depth details regarding some of the fatal diseases that are more likely to affect elderly people who snore.

Heart Diseases

A number of studies reported that sleep apnea could lead to cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Both of these conditions may lead to a heart attack, especially in the case of elderly people because of their weak immune system. According to a recent study conducted by medical experts, the probability of sleep apnea patients to experience a heart attack or any other cardiac disease is twice as that of normal people.

Note that when a person snores excessively, it will coagulate the walls of the arteries that connect the heart to the brain. As a result, the amount of oxygen-rich blood flowing through the arteries will become insufficient for proper cardiovascular functioning. This will ultimately lead to heart attack or other related diseases. However, the reason why arteries react to snoring is still unknown.

Stroke

Many studies carried out in the field of medical science say that snoring is closely related to carotid atherosclerosis, which is characterized by contraction of the arteries. Note that carotid atherosclerosis will reduce the flow of blood from the heart to the brain. This may ultimately lead to stroke. In fact, many medical experts claim that the chances for a person to have a stroke increases with the intensity of their snoring.

Some say that the main reason for the drop in the amount of blood flowing to the brain is sleep apnea. During this sleep disorder, the affected person tends to wake up regularly at night gasping for air. This itself is a serious condition, besides reducing the amount of blood flow to the brain.

Mental Health Issues

Just like heart diseases and stroke, a drop in the amount of blood flow to the brain can lead to cognitive as well as mental health issues too. When compared to normal people, the chances to develop the symptoms of mild cognitive impairment are more in the case of snorers. Some of the common symptoms include memory lapse, poor cognitive skills, etc. Note that these impairments may show up even 12 years before a person is detected with sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea may lead to mild cognitive impairments as well. In most cases, this is often considered as a warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Along with this, excessive snoring can also disturb the mental well-being of a person. Some of the common mental issues that can be seen in sleep apnea patients include crankiness, depression, lack of sleep, lack of concentration, etc. Thankfully, taking appropriate measures to stop snoring and treat sleep apnea can alleviate most of these symptoms.

Effective Treatment for Snoring

The snoring rate will be more for senior people who are suffering from various medical illnesses. Anyhow, there is no need to panic because you can stop snoring by opting for appropriate snoring remedies. Some of the regular treatment options include the use of anti-snoring devices, snoring pillows, CPAP machine, medication, etc. On a related note, some people can stop snoring easily by making some simple changes in their daily routine as well. Nevertheless, it is recommended to consult a doctor before trying out any kind of snoring remedies.

Usually, doctors will first diagnose the root cause for your snoring before recommending a treatment method. Some of the possible reasons that make elderly people snore include sinusitis or nasal issues, poor sleep posture, obesity, etc. To be sure, the health care provider will carry out a sleep study to find the actual cause of snoring and then prescribe the necessary treatment method.