Snoring is a problem for most of us, whether it's us or our loved ones. But can this nuisance have an effect on the health of our heart? For women, the answer could be yes, according to a new study.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a severe form of snoring. It occurs when the muscles of the throat relax and block the airways during sleep. This is what causes the loud snoring we all know, but what makes it different is that it also causes wheezing during sleep – disrupting deep sleep – as well as dry mouth, irritability and daytime fatigue.
At present, a new study by the Radiology Society of North America and the University of Munich in Germany suggests that OSA could increase the risk of heart disease. The results showed that men and women with OSA were more likely to have enlarged walls in the left ventricle of the heart – the chamber of the heart that pumps blood through the body. This forces the heart to work harder, which increases the risk of heart disease.
OSA has been associated with left ventricular dysfunction for some time, but this study allowed researchers to see it in real time through MRI.
Although men and women with OSA showed signs of left ventricular dysfunction, it was women who showed a more significant difference compared to people who did not snore, the study reveals. This suggests that women can be affected earlier and potentially more easily than men.
The study evaluated cardiac MRIs of over 4,000 people with no known heart problems. The MRI information was obtained from the UK Biobank, an international data pool that tracks the health of more than half a million people with the goal of learning more about prevention. and the treatment of diseases. For the study, they asked people to self-report whether they were snoring, snoring or had a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea.
It is possible to treat OSA. This normally begins with lifestyle changes including diet and exercise, stopping smoking, less alcohol consumption and a sleep that will help you breathe better.
The researchers invite anyone with severe snoring to consult a doctor to find out more.
Dr. Sumir Shah is an emergency physician in New York and a member of ABC News Medical Unit.