Obesity and the Associated Risks
It is not the intention of this article to associate snoring with obesity exclusively. However obesity, defined by a BMI greater than 30, can be part of the problem.
So, what do we know of obesity alone? It is no different from any other bad habit to be overweight. Whilst you might be genetically predisposed to retaining weight (the big boned argument), the choice to consume high calorie, nutritionally devoid foods is entirely yours to make.
The three most recognised risks of obesity are coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Obesity is related to these conditions because it is associated with the build-up of deposits or “plaque” within blood vessels.
This causes narrowing of the blood vessels and a reduction in the supply of oxygen, which limits the amount of blood that can be pumped by the heart around your body. This is what we mean by heart disease. Left untreated, further build-up within the arteries will likely lead to heart failure or heart attack.
It follows that any build-up creates a point of resistance for the natural flow of blood through the body. The increase in peripheral resistance leads to high blood pressure. Your body is therefore in constant overdrive and this is a key factor in the rise of all other obesity-related risks.
The logical next step here is the body having to give in to the pressure you are putting it under. Prolonged internal stress and strain within an artery can cause breaks and ruptures which trigger a clotting cascade which in turn leads to the formation of a clot.
This can block the flow much like standing on a garden hose, restricting the stream of oxygenated blood almost entirely. Very simply, if that rupture occurs in close proximity to your brain, the lack of oxygen available will cause a stroke, if it is in the heart, then it will cause a heart attack.
And Now Add Snoring…
Information about the dangerous habits that will hasten the onset of the above ailments is becoming more and more available. In particular the risks associated with being overweight and also being a smoker, drinker and living a generally sedentary life. It is hugely important to add snoring to this list of dangerous, voluntary habits.
Although we have discussed the dangers of obstructive sleep apnoea, importantly it is the common snorer, one in ten women and one in four men, who is also at risk. Sleep apnoea causes constant and regular breaks in the necessary in and out- flow of oxygen through the airways. These regular stoppages require the heart to work harder as there is less available oxygenated blood flowing through the body.
Working harder means a rise in blood pressure, in other words heavy snorers and sleep apnoeics are once again at risk of hypertension.
It is important to realise the dual effect of being overweight and an acute snorer, beyond the relation of one causing the other. Given the statistics, adult men and women are very likely to already be snorers before their BMI reaches the point of plaque build-up.
Therefore high blood pressure is already incipient within the body, making the dangers of obesity far more real, and the likelihood of them occurring all the more quickly.
In summary it should be widely acknowledged that heavy snoring, or apnoea, coupled with obesity sets the way for a perfect storm.
However an increase in muscle tone in the three areas of the throat and mouth outlined will be of significant benefit. The exercises should become routine immediately, in combination with those that support losing weight.
Over time weight loss and increased muscle tone in the throat and mouth will meet in the middle, and life-changing health benefits will follow.
The central theme of this article is to introduce the fact that everything in your life is negatively affected by snoring and this is why you must take action to stop.