Snoring & its Health Consequences


A healthy individual typically spends a third of their life asleep. This is the time when your body rests, grows, and restores itself. It should therefore not come as a surprise that regular disruption or loss of sleep could lead to potentially serious health consequences. When oxygen flow to the back of the mouth and nose is compromised, the tongue and upper throat strike the soft palate and uvula, causing a vibration that is heard as an audible snore. Regular snorers may not be aware that their snoring is likely an indication of a more serious underlying issue: Sleep Apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea, the subtype with the highest prevalence, refers to a blockage of the airways during sleep. It is characterized by decreased or impeded airflow despite efforts to breathe, and at least 10 seconds of paused breathing. While typical loss of breathing is between 10 to 30 seconds, these periods can be prolonged for an entire minute or even longer. This lack of oxygen to the body could be extremely harmful, reducing blood oxygen levels by up to 40%. It is important to note that while most diagnosed individuals are middle aged or older, sleep apnea can be diagnosed at any age, including childhood. As such, although the disorder is most often associated with older individuals, we should be well aware of it and its risks at all ages.

Unfortunately, around 80-90% of cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed. If untreated, there could be serious health consequences. These include but are not limited to, stroke, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, cancer, obesity, diabetes, early onset dementia, and high blood pressure. Many of these health risks stem from daytime fatigue, also denoted daytime somnolence syndrome, that results from ongoing sleep disruptions.

Cancer and Heart Failure

It is not necessary that individuals with sleep apnea will develop cancer, however, researchers have found a link. Patients diagnosed with the most aggressive cancers have higher prevalence and severity of obstructive sleep apnea, and this is irrespective of any other risk factors for melanoma (a malignant tumour regularly associated with skin cancer). Additionally, obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk for or worsens already existing heart conditions, including arrhythmia- irregular heartbeat.


Another major consequence of sleep apnea can be stroke, usually characterized as impaired blood flow to the brain. Researchers have found that mild to severe obstructive sleep apnea may increase the risk of ischemic stroke, by as much as three times in males. A specific study found that 71.9% of individuals with obstructive sleep apnea experienced a cardioembolic stroke, compared with 33.3% of those without. The frequency of strokes is also increased by the severity of sleep apnea.

Weight Gain

Sleep apnea could also lead to unhealthy levels of weight gain, even transcending to obesity. Sleep is when your body restores and replenishes itself, so if that pattern is obstructed, it could really take a toll on the chemical makeup of your body. This could cause hormonal imbalances that could alter your metabolism, and even cause you to consume more high calorie foods in the daytime, particularly those high in fat and sugars, increasing the probability of weight gain.


The constant disruption of oxygen supply to the body, through obstructive sleep apnea, can compromise the strength of our bones. Especially true for older individuals and women, osteoporosis risk is thereby increased for those with sleep apnea. In fact, it has been found that the incidence of osteoporosis is nearly 3 times greater for those with sleep apnea, compared to those without.


Given all these dangerous health consequences, it is crucial to seek diagnosis and treatment. A convenient, effective, and popular treatment option is oral appliance therapy. This is particularly enticing for those that find CPAP therapy intolerable. 60% of individuals who are prescribed CPAP cease treatment after 30 days, whereas more than 90% of oral appliance therapy users continue satisfied use for 10 years! It is recommended by The American Association of Sleep Medicine as the first line of treatment for mild or moderate sleep apnea and for severe sleep apnea when CPAP is not tolerable or indicated. In fact, Dr.Stern, as a Diplomat of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine has been successfully treating patients using this method, in conjunction with medical doctors, for 25 years. The user experience is extremely positive, with patients and their significant others claiming they cannot live without the appliance. It is easy to use and travel with, and can even be used in conjunction with other treatment methods, such as general health and weight management.

If you or your loved ones have snoring problems, and are interested in inquiring about oral appliance therapy, contact us today for consultation. To learn more, please visit