New evidence: snoring health risks surpass smoking, obesity, cholesterol

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If your partner snores, seek treatment

Snoring might be more than just a problem for your restless spouse, finds a new study. Results of a study published this week from researchers with the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit suggest snoring may be riskier for health than obesity, smoking and high cholesterol.

Study author Robert Deeb, M.D suggests if your partner snores, stop kicking them and instead seek medical treatment.

What happens when we snore that harms health?

Deeb explains snoring can lead to damage to the carotid arteries that comes from vibration.

Inflammation and trauma to the arteries that supply blood flow to the brain makes the innermost layers, known as the intima, thicker.

Until now research has focused on health risks of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that is known to be linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other health problems.

The new study shows cardiovascular risks from disordered breathing during sleep might begin with snoring.

For the investigation, Dr. Deeb and senior author Kathleen Yaremchuk, M.D. evaluated data from 943 patients who underwent sleep studies, none of whom had sleep apnea.

The participants who ranged in age from 18 to 50 filled out questionnaires documenting their snoring habits.

They also underwent testing to measure the thickness of the carotid arteries. One of the first signs of carotid artery disease is thickening of the blood vessels from atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

The results showed snorers had substantially thicker carotid arteries, even when other risk factors for cardiovascular disease were absent, including smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

The study authors hope insurance companies will recognize the dangers of snoring. Treatment is considered a cosmetic procedure meaning patients have to pay out of pocket to correct the problem.

One treatment, called the ‘Pillar Procedure’ uses tiny polyester implants to stiffen the soft palate located at the back of the mouth on the top. The procedure is also used to treat sleep apnea.

If your partner snores, speak with your doctor about options for treatment. Snoring can lead to health problems that include lack of sleep (for you and your partner) and may lead to hardening of the arteries, based on new evidence.

Source:

Henry Ford Health System

January 24, 2013

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