You may think that your snoring is harmless, or that your spouse’s snoring is just mildly annoying. If so, think again. Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit have found that snoring puts you at a greater risk of future health problems than those that are obese, smoke or have high cholesterol. The good news is, you can prevent some of these health risks.

The lining of the two large blood vessels that provide oxygenated blood is the early warning sign of atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries that is the cause of many types of vascular diseases. The study shows that snorers often have changes in the carotid artery that is the result of the trauma caused by ongoing inflammation that happens as a result of the vibrations of snoring.

We have known for some time that sleep apnea, which causes pauses in the breathing of sleeping patients, has been linked to cardiovascular diseases and other health problems, but the new study shows us that the risk for these diseases may actually begin long before snoring becomes sleep apnea.

“Snoring is more than a bedtime annoyance and it shouldn’t be ignored. Patients need to seek treatment in the same way they would if they had sleep apnea, high blood pressure or other risk factors for cardiovascular disease,” says lead study author Robert Deeb, M.D., with the Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford.

“Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that isolated snoring may not be as benign as first suspected. So instead of kicking your snoring bed partner out of the room or spending sleepless nights elbowing him or her, seek out medical treatment for the snorer.”

If you or your partner snores, now is the time to schedule a consultation with Atlanta ENT. The earlier treatment is sought, the lower the risk of heart disease and other potentially life threatening diseases.

For more information on Henry Ford Hospital’s study, please see:

Ramie A. Tritt, MD, President of Atlanta ENT