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Snoring may worsen cardiac function, especially in women.

December 12, 2018

Snoring may worsen cardiac function, especially in women.

A new study says snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can possibly lead to earlier cardiac function impairment in women.

Snoring is referred to as the vibration of respiratory structures resulting in obstructed air movement during breathing emitting grunting or snorting sounds while sleeping. 90 million people in the United States snore as suggested by The National Sleep Foundation. With age snoring may pose dangers to people as it can become a plausible cause for developing heart diseases.  Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea affecting at least 18 million people in the United States.

This sleep condition interrupts with the sleeping and breathing pattern stopping the breathing repeatedly every 10 seconds, making it difficult to breathe comfortably while sleeping. This results in reduced oxygen in the blood and can briefly awaken sleepers throughout the night. More than 50 per cent of the people snoring loudly suffer from OSA.

In OSA, the throat muscles that keep the airway open tends to prevent the flow of air. A recent study presented at the annual Radiological Society meeting of North America, held in Chicago, IL: Snoring and OSA may make women susceptible to earlier cardiac impairments than in men.

Although sleep apnea relationship with heart diseases is yet to be established yet some specialists are of the view that individuals with this condition are at a risk of developing hypertension or high blood pressure.

People with sleep apnea suffer from co-existing diseases and therefore this makes it difficult to explain the relationship between sleep apnea and heart diseases.

Obesity contributes to the development of sleep apnea and makes an individual sleep deprived which further gives rise to obesity. During sleep, among other factors, when the throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed, this soft tissue can cause the airway to get blocked.

Researchers interpreted The UK Biobank (International Health Resource) data of 4,877 participants associated with cardiac parameters linked with the diagnosed OSA and self-reported snoring.

The participants studied had received a cardiac MRI scan. The scientists divided the participants in three groups namely: those with OSA, those with self-reported snoring, and hose with neither.

On comparing the snoring group with the group with no sleep disorder, a striking difference in the left ventricular mass in women compared with men was found.

Increase in left ventricular mass indicates that the heart is required to work extra to meet the body’s needs. The similar patterns observed in people with no sleep disorder indicates undiagnosed OSA.  The study also pointed out less number of diagnosed cases, thus hinting that OSA may be underdiagnosed across the board.

“We found that the cardiac parameters in women appear to be more easily affected by the disease and that women who snore or have OSA might be at greater risk for cardiac involvement.

Radiology resident at Munich University Hospital, Germany, Dr Curato was quoted saying, “I would encourage people who snore to ask their partner to observe them and look for phases during sleep when they stop breathing for a short while and then gasp for air.

If unsure, they can spend the night at a sleep lab where breathing is constantly monitored during sleep and even slight alterations can be recorded.”

To understand and uncover gender difference of the condition the team will further undertake more researches.

Health Site Editorial Team

Updated 12 December 2018

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