Snoring, Heart Disease and Sudden Death

There can be a relationship between snoring, heart disease and sudden death among those with specific cardiovascular issues. Snoring can present many problems for both the snorer and his or her partner.

These issues can cause difficulties in the daily life and routine of both as well as issues related to intimacy. Recent sleep tests have revealed that a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea may be a major culprit.

Problems from Chronic Snoring

Chronic snoring can create many problems among those afflicted with the condition. Among these problems are:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of effectiveness at work or school
  • Intimacy and relationship problems
  • Mood swings and psychological disorders
  • Heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Those who have issues with loud or persistent snoring should be tested for respiratory problems such as obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA. Patients who suffer from OSA can suffer several times a night from episodes where airflow ceases completely for up to ten seconds. Even in cases where airflow is not completely obstructed, a condition called hypopnea can result, wherein air intake goes down by anywhere from 30 to 50 percent.

The OSA, depending on how much airflow is obstructed, is rated on the apnea-hypopnea index, or AHI, as mild, moderate or severe. Loud snoring is a positive indicator of OSA, especially when the snoring is interrupted by periods of silence. These instances of silence are the periods when the patient ceases to breathe.

Dangers of OSA

OSA is characterized by a blockage in the air passages of the patient. Most patients with OSA awake in the morning feeling fatigued and unrested, even if they do not awaken during the night. This associated fatigue can result in decreased efficiency and mood problems and can even be dangerous if the patient falls asleep behind the wheel of a car. In severe cases, lack of breathing can cause sudden death during sleep.

OSA and Metabolic Syndrome

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh which looked at 800 subjects aged 45 to 74, found that those diagnosed with OSA suffered from metabolic syndrome. This ailment is determined by a group of factors including weight, waist circumference, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, high triglycerides and low HDL, or “good” cholesterol.

The Importance of Diagnosis

Most people with OSA do not even realize that they have the condition, and may even deny snoring problems. As a result, the problem can be present for years before it is diagnosed and treated.

Currently, many studies such as the one out of the University of Pittsburgh are shedding new light on this condition, its contributing factors and potential treatments. The condition can be very serious. Any time a person exhibits chronic loud snoring and other symptoms of OSA, they should be referred to a physician immediately for diagnosis and treatment of the condition.

There are many treatments available for sleep apnea, including oral appliances and surgery. With today’s technology, there is no reason why people should suffer with this condition.

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