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NEW STUDY: The Link Between Snoring And Other Health Risks

Snoring could be more than just a nighttime frustration, say researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich. Even without sleep apnea and the problems associated with it, snoring may put you at a greater risk of having carotid artery thickening or abnormalities and the risk may be greater than for people who smoke, have high cholesterol or are overweight.

The study revealed that changes in the carotid artery are likely due to trauma and subsequent inflammation caused by vibrations from snoring even for snorers without sleep apnea. The increased thickening in the lining of the two large blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygenated blood is a precursor to atherosclerosis - a hardening of the arteries responsible for many vascular diseases.

The study also found no statistically significant differences in intima-media thickness for patients with or without some of the traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as smoking, diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia.

Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that isolated snoring may not be as benign as first suspected, say Robert Deeb, M.D., lead study author with the Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery at Henry Ford. 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. Snoring is generally regarded as a cosmetic issue by health insurance, requiring significant out-of-pocket expenses by patients. Were hoping to change that thinking so patients can get the early treatment they need before more serious health issues arise.

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