Snoring dangerous for women: New study reveals
A new study has revealed that both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea could lead to earlier impairment of cardiac function in women.
“Snoring” refers to a sleeping pattern in which a person breathes while emitting a snorting or grunting sound.
Although, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that snoring might become more dangerous as people age, and it can also lead to heart disease, especially for women.
There are different types of sleep apnea, but the most common is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). At least 18 million U.S. adults have sleep apnea.
This condition affects breathing patterns while sleeping, causing a person to stop breathing and start again repeatedly. About half of people who snore loudly have OSA.
When OSA occurs, the muscles in the throat that are responsible for keeping the airway open actually prevent the flow of air.
According to a new study presented recently at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America — held in Chicago, IL — snoring and OSA may lead to earlier impairment of cardiac function in women than in men.
It is unclear whether or not sleep apnea directly causes heart disease, but some specialists believe that people with sleep apnea are at risk of developing hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Many people who have sleep apnea also have co-existing diseases. This is one of the reasons why it is harder to establish a direct link between sleep apnea and heart disease.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), some people living with sleep apnea and high blood pressure who received treatment for sleep apnea also saw their blood pressure drop. Such findings show a possible link between hypertension and sleep apnea.
OSA is also associated with obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Obesity contributes to sleep apnea, and the sleep deprivation that sleep apnea causes can give rise to further obesity, in the long-term. As a person gains more weight, the throat muscles that keep the airway open relax, and sleep apnea becomes more serious.
Dr. Curta, a radiology resident at Munich University Hospital in Germany, urges people who snore to get screened for OSA and those with OSA to seek treatment.
“I would encourage people who snore to ask their partner to observe them and look for phases during sleep when they stop breathing for a short while and then gasp for air,” says Dr. Curta.
“If unsure, they can spend the night at a sleep lab where breathing is constantly monitored during sleep and even slight alterations can be recorded.”
The team now hopes to conduct more research to fully understand the sex differences linked to snoring and OSA.