In a new study just released, loud snoring with breathing pauses has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease -- hypertension, heart attacks and strokes.
The study, authored by Marta Novak, MD, PhD, of the Institute of Behavioral Sciences at Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary, interviewed 12,643 individuals where questions about snoring were asked.
The results of the study produced some pretty interesting results:
• Loud snorers had a 40 percent greater odds of having hypertension.
• Loud snorers had a 34 percent greater odds of having a heart attack.
• Loud snorers had a whopping 67% greater odds of having a stroke.
These percentages were arrived at by comparing with people who did not snore, after statistical adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, diabetes, level of education, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
Loud snoring was also associated with increased use of health care resources (emergency visits and hospitalization).
Istvan Mucsi, MD, PhD, of the University of Toronto and co-author of the study said, "Our findings suggest that loud snoring with breathing pauses carries a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease and is close to obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) on the spectrum of sleep disordered breathing, therefore this simple question may identify high risk individuals whom may benefit from a sleep study."
Snoring itself is not uncommon... most of us is likely to snore at one time or another. Snoring is a sound made in the upper airway of your throat as you sleep. It occurs as you breathe in air and it is a sign that your airway is being partially blocked.
About 50 percent of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This happens when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses to block the entire airway, stopping air from getting in to the lungs. The tissue collapses because the muscles inside the throat relax as you sleep. Gravity itself causes the tongue to fall back and block the airway. This situation can happen a few times a night.... or several hundred times.
Habitual snoring has been found in about 24 percent of adult women and 40 percent of adult men. Both men and women are more likely to snore as they age. Men, however, become less likely to snore after the age of 70.
Snoring is more common in people who are overweight. There is a greater amount of fat in the back of the throat that vibrates as they sleep. Nasal obstruction raises the risk of snoring.
Snoring also appears to run in families. The likelihood of snoring may also increase with other factors:
• Drinking alcohol
• Using muscle relaxers
• Using drugs