A new study found that snoring and sleep apnea can both lead to earlier impairment of cardiac function,
Snoring is a sleeping pattern whereby a person breathes while producing a grunting or snorting sound. According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 90 million people in the United States snore.
Normally, snoring becomes more dangerous with age and can trigger heart-related problems.
There are various types of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea (ASA) happens to be the most common. More than 18 million adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea.
With this condition, a person’s sleep pattern is affected whereby one stops breathing and starts repeatedly. Nearly half of the people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea.
When someone has OSA, the throat muscles that keep the airway open prevent the flow of air.
In the new study that was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago, Illinois, OSA, snoring can cause earlier cardiac function impairment, particularly in women.
Connection between sleep apnea and heart disease
It is not evident whether there is a direct connection between sleep apnea and heart disease. However, some specialists reckon that people who have sleep apnea are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension.
Most of the people who have sleep apnea also have other co-existing illnesses. This is why it is quite hard to establish a direct relationship between sleep apnea and heart disease.
Effects of Too Much Sleep
A recent study about sleeping habits indicates that sleeping too much or too little can impact cognitive function.
In reference to the American Heart Association (AHA), some people with sleep apnea and high blood pressure who got treated for sleep apnea also saw a drop in their blood pressure. This is an indication that there could be a relationship between sleep apnea and hypertension.
OSA is also directly associated with obesity, which happens to be a risk factor for heart disease.
Obesity can worsen sleep apnea. Additionally, the sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can in the long-term to further obesity. When one gains more weight, the throat muscles responsible for keeping the airway open relax, and this worsens sleep apnea.
Snoring Women at a Higher Risk
After analyzing data related to cardiac parameters and diagnosed OSA, researchers from the UK Biobank found that women who snore are more vulnerable.
The UK Biobank represents an international health resource that is open to researchers. Its aim is to enhance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of health problems.
This data was taken from 4,877 participants who received a cardiac MRI scan. The researchers split the participants into three groups: people with OSA, those with self-reported snoring, and those who had none of the two conditions.
After comparing the snoring group with the group without sleep issues, the researchers found a remarkable difference in the left ventricular mass in females compared with males.
An increase in the left ventricular mass is an indication that the heart should work harder in order to meet the body’s needs.
For people who self-reportedly snore, such patterns may indicate that they have undiagnosed OSA.
According to the researchers, the number of undiagnosed OSA in the study was significantly low. This suggests that OSA is normally under diagnosed.
If you snore, it is important to get screened for OSA and seek treatment if you have the condition. This is according to Dr. Curta who’s a radiology resident at Munich University Hospital in Germany.
He also urges people who are uncertain to spend a night at a sleep lab where sleeping patterns are closely monitored. Even the slight alterations can be identified.
The researchers now hope to carry out further studies to fully establish the gender difference between snoring and OSA.