Health

You Snore? Don’t Ignore!

Heavy snoring may indicate heart risk

Complaints about snoring can be embarrassing, but dismissing the problem may have more serious consequences.

A study in Journal Sleep found that heavy snorers are at 34 percent increased risk of having a heart attack, a 40 percent increased risk of high blood pressure, and a 67 percent increased risk of stroke.

Heavy snorers are at 34 percent increased risk of having a heart attack, a 40 percent increased risk of high blood pressure, and a 67 percent increased risk of stroke.

Hungarian scientists conducted a survey of nearly 13,000 people, in which a third of men and a fifth of women reported they snored loudly. Even with self-reporting (as opposed to asking husbands about their wives snoring, and vice versa), researchers found a significant correlation between loud snoring and heart disease. This link held true even after adjusting for body mass index and alcohol consumption, both of which may aggravate snoring.

The sound of snoring is caused by breath vibrating through partially obstructed throat and nasal passageways. What causes this obstruction? While the normal aging process can contribute to sagging throat muscles, other factors include alcohol consumption, some sleeping medications, and the biggest one of all — excess weight. In fact, 60-90 percent of adults with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight. Fat compresses air passages and weakens upper airway muscle.

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While weight problems can worsen snoring, it also can hamper efforts to control your weight. By interrupting your sleep, snoring can deprive you of needed shut-eye, raising levels of cortisol (linked to increased abdominal fat), lowering levels of appetite regulating leptin, and sapping energy for exercise.

Fortunately, you can stop the vicious cycle of dwindling sleep and rising weight by increasing your exercise and changing your diet. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables plus lean proteins should form the foundation of your food plan. Reduce your intake of alcohol. Joining a gym, taking up gentle yoga, or even walking a few times a week can put you on the path to better health. Complaints by snoring can be embarrassing — but dismissing the problem may have more serious consequences. A study in Journal Sleep found that heavy snorers are at 34 percent increased risk of having a heart attack, a 40-percent increased risk of high blood pressure, and a 67 percent increased risk of stroke!

Heavy snorers are at 34 percent increased risk of having a heart attack, a 40 percent increased risk of high blood pressure, and a 67 percent increased risk of stroke!

Hungarian scientists conducted a survey of nearly 13,000 people, in which a third of men and a fifth of women reported they snored loudly. Even with self-reporting (as opposed to asking husbands about their wives snoring, and vice versa), researchers found a significant correlation between loud snoring and heart disease. This link held true even after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) and alcohol consumption, both of which may aggravate snoring.

The sound of snoring is caused by breath vibrating through partially obstructed throat and nasal passageways. What causes this obstruction? While the normal aging process can contribute to sagging throat muscles, other factors include alcohol, some sleeping medications, and the biggest one of all: excess weight. In fact, 60-90 percent of adults with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight: fat compresses air passages and weakens upper airway muscle.

While weight problems can worsen snoring — snoring can also hamper efforts to control your weight: By interrupting your sleep, snoring can deprive you of needed shut-eye, raising levels of cortisol (linked to increased abdominal fat), lowering levels of appetite regulating leptin, and sapping energy for exercise. Fortunately, you can stop the vicious cycle of dwindling sleep and rising weight by increasing exercise and changing your diet. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables plus lean proteins should form the foundation of your food plan. Reduce — or better yet, abstain from alcohol. Join a gym, take up gentle yoga, even walking a few times a week can put you on the path to better health.

This article was originally created by the Dole Nutrition Institute.

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