New research from the University of Detroit indicates people who snore have a substantial risk of suffering from a heart attack or brain hemorrhage. The researchers weren’t just talking about heavy snorers who suffer from sleep apnea, but people who snore regularly while they sleep. In fact, researchers say snorers are at a higher risk of developing the same heart problems that smokers or obese people get.
Snoring impacts a sizeable portion of the population: 25% of women, and 44% of men snore regularly, while half of Americans report they snore occasionally. Of course, many of us may never know it—after all, we’re asleep.
Researchers believe that snoring thickens the carotid artery, making it more difficult for oxygen-rich blood to make it to the brain. They think the thickness may be related to inflammation from vibrations caused by snoring. The added pressure to pump the blood can increase the risk for brain hemorrhages, heart attacks, and strokes. This particular study tracked a fairly limited sample size, consisting of only 54 subjects, made up of men and women between the ages of 18 and 64.
But other research has concluded the same thing. Last May, Pennsylvania researchers also found a relationship between snoring, sleep habits, and the risk of cardiovascular disease. The study noticed that snorers often get less than six hours of sleep per night, increasing their risk of cardiovascular disease. The research also produced some interesting insights as to why snorers snore and why they may be at greater risk for heart problems.
The work noted snoring was strongly associated with low levels of high density LDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol), stress, limited or no exercise, eating less than five servings of fruit or vegetables per day, and being overweight or obese. By looking at the results of this research, it becomes possible to draw a connection between lifestyle and snoring, which can ultimately increase the risk of encountering cardiovascular problems.
The best way to learn whether or not you snore—and if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease or heart attack—is to listen to your partner. If they say you snore regularly, take their word for it and visit a doctor.
If you’re single and concerned about snoring, there are a few things you can do to see if it’s impacting you. The first is to start paying attention to the quality of your sleep. If you find yourself waking up at night out of breath, or getting up frequently, snoring may be the culprit. Fatigue, light-headedness, confusion, depression, or irritability during the day can also signify that snoring is impacting your sleep, so pay attention to your mental state when you’re awake. You should also keep a sleep diary and make notes about how you feel when you wake up.
If you’re apprehensive about going to the doctor, here are a few things to try on your own. However, if the situation doesn’t improve or go away be sure to seek the help of a professional:
- Change your sleeping position. Try sleeping on your side or in a reclined position to allow air to pass freely.
- Lose weight.
- Stay away from alcohol, especially within a few hours of bedtime.
- Stay hydrated to prevent a dry throat.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
“Sleep apnea snoring: 12 symptoms to be on the lookout for,” SnoreHub web site, March 11, 2013; http://www.snorehub.com/sleep-apnea-snoring-12-symptoms-to-be-on-the-lookout-for/.
Mosca, M., et al., “Sleep duration, snoring habits, and cardiovascular disease risk factors in an ethnically diverse population,” J Cardiovasc Nurs. May-June 2012; 27(3): 263-269.
Borland, S., “Snorers ‘more at risk of heart attack than smokers or obese,’’’ Dailymail web site, January 25, 2013; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2268217/Snorers-risk-heart-attack-smokers-obese.html.