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Doubled risk of stroke for heavy snorers

Have you ever wondered how to stop snoring? Does your snoring cause your loved ones to wake up at night and disrupt their sleep? You might be at risk of coronary disease.

A recent study, conducted at the University of Sydney in Australia, has shown that individuals who suffer from heavy snoring are nearly two times more likely to be susceptible to cholesterol plaque formation in the neck arteries than their non-snoring counterparts. In essence, snoring has been identified as an independent risk factor for early onset carotid atherosclerosis, which is known as a precursor for strokes.

The study was conducted on a group of over one hundred individuals between the ages of 45 and 80, who were categorised as being heavy, moderate and mild snorers. The findings of the researchers at the Ludwig Engel Centre for Respiratory Research (LECRR) were as follows:

- Heavy snoring has a closer association with carotid atherosclerosis than mild snoring.
- 60% of heavy snorers had evidence of cholesterol plaque leading to atherosclerosis, whereas of the light snorers only 20% presented with these symptoms.
- Habitual snoring occurs under approximately 24% of the female population and 40% of the male population.
- Loud snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnoea.

Coordinator Sharon Lee had the following to say on the matter, “Our study is the first to objectively measure and quantify snoring, rather than using a questionnaire, to explore the association between snoring and carotid atherosclerosis.”

Director of the LECRR, John Wheatley, commented that a high prevalence of snoring in any community points to unhealthy lifestyles and can have significant health implications. Those who seek to reduce snoring should, in Mr Wheatley’s opinion, seek treatment in the form of continuous positive airway pressure therapy, oral snoring aids and general improved lifestyle choices.

Snoremate - 06 Sep 2010