The Link between Snoring and Heart Diseases

Snoring is one of the most common sleep disorders and thousands of people in the United States are suffering from this dangerous condition. The loud and irritating noise that you make due to snoring will prevent you and your partner from getting a good night’s sleep. As a result, your partner will be forced to move to another room to sleep calmly and peacefully, which is not good for a healthy relationship.

In some cases, people who snore do not even realize that they have a serious snoring issue. So, if you or your partner is a loud or regular snorer, then you should consult with him/her and recommend getting medical assistance as soon as possible. The health care providers usually ask patients experiencing snoring issues to make a few lifestyle changes and to invest in an anti-snoring mouthpiece to reduce or stop snoring.

The Health Risks Associated with Snoring

Several individuals who are suffering from snoring and other sleep disorders have a misconception that their snoring related issues will get resolved automatically. Yet the reality is that sleep disorders like snoring can bring serious health issues if left untreated for long. In fact, several studies have revealed that excessive snoring might be a sign of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which often triggers lung diseases and heart diseases. So, if you are not doing anything to deal with your snoring problem, then it means you could eventually end up experiencing severe heart diseases.

As you would probably know, regular exercise, proper diet, and peaceful sleep are three key things that are essential for maintaining a good and healthy heart. So, if you are unable to get a good night’s sleep due to snoring or any other sleep disorder, then it puts you at a greater risk of developing heart diseases. However, experts say that treating sleep apnea and snoring would help patients to considerably reduce the risk of heart diseases.

An interesting thing that a recent research conducted by the otolaryngologists at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit revealed is that snoring is actually a bigger risk factor for heart attack and stroke than smoking. The study also pointed out that even people who are overweight and the ones with high cholesterol levels are at a relatively lower risk of heart diseases and strokes when compared to loud and regular snorers.

The researchers, Dr. Karen Yaremchuk and Dr. Robert Deeb, also stated that the sleep disorder would cause severe damage to the carotid arteries of snorers. Carotid arteries are the ones that supply oxygen-rich blood to our brain. So, if the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the brain is paused or stopped due to the damages in the carotid arteries, the odds of experiencing grave heart diseases go even higher.

The researchers who conducted the study also examined the carotid arteries of thousands of people who have fallen prey to snoring. They concluded that the carotid arteries in regular snorers become increasingly thickened, which indicated that their carotid arteries might have already started to get damaged. Dr. Yaremchuk and Dr. Deeb firmly believe that the damage in the carotid arteries of snorers is due to the inflammation and trauma caused by the vibrations in the airway, which is a common characteristic of snoring problems.

The patients who attended the survey at the Detroit Henry Ford Hospital belonged to the age group of 18 to 50. This means that snoring and sleep apnea is common in young adults too. Dr. Deeb stated that he hopes that the results of this study will encourage more snorers to get medical assistance and solve their sleep disorders. He also added that he hopes that health care providers would add snoring to the risk factors of heart diseases and strokes.

Speaking to the press, Dr. Robert Deeb, MD, said, “Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that isolated snoring may not be as benign as first suspected. Patients need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnea, high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.”

It is to be noted that previous researches conducted on the link between artery diseases and sleep apnea had identified a reverse connection. That is, arterial damages will occur first, which will in turn lower the amount of oxygen in the blood to cause breath issues. The earlier studies also stated that the thickening of the arteries may also contribute to snoring and it was not the other way around.

Even though Obstructive Sleep Apnea was considered as an indicator of heart and cardiovascular diseases, there were no strong pieces of evidence that showed that the damages to the carotid arteries begin with snoring. Yet the researchers believe that considering snoring as a potential risk factor for heart diseases will allow doctors to diagnose and suggest accurate treatments at an earlier stage.