Snoring Poses Greater Heart Attack Risk Than Smoking, Study Says

Most people are comforted by the prospect of having some degree of control over their lives, including their health.  If this is so, than why is it that we routinely forfeit control by say, ignoring our doctors’ continual recommendations to quit smoking or lose weight?

SnoringBecause it's hard to quit smoking and hard to lose weight.  And hard to keep hearing that you must do both.

Not to discount the importance of a smoke-free lifestyle and a healthy weight, but here's some medical news that might make you feel better if you're among the 46.6 million adult American who smoke  or among the 2 out of 3 Americans who are overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Snoring is a bigger health risk, new evidence suggests.

According to a January 28 article published in Forbes, snoring may put you at a greater risk of suffering a heart attack than smoking or being obese.  The article sites research conducted by the University of Detroit, which found that snoring may lead to a thickening of the carotid, the artery responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood to the brain.

Head of the research team, Dr. Robert Deeb of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit Michigan, states that the act of snoring creates involuntary vibrations within the body, which may lead to inflammation of the arteries.  Prolonged inflammation of the arteries due to chronic snoring may eventually cause arterial thickening.  Thickening of the arteries is a serious medical condition that puts you at an increased risk of suffering from heart attack and stroke.

Well-established risk factors for cardiovascular disease include being overweight or obese, as well as lifestyle factors such as smoking.

Electronic cigarettes are an alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.

There is general agreement among the medical community that maintaining a healthy body weight and being a non-smoker may help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke.  However, it is not until recently that research has suggested that there is a correlation between snoring and arterial health.

Dr. Deeb and his research team conducted a study involving 54 men and women, some snorers and some non-snorers.  Medical professionals used ultrasound imaging in order to assess the health of the carotid arteries of the 54 individual participants of the study.  The ultrasound images showed that the snorers had a thicker innermost layer of the arterial wall than non-snorers.

Not Just Sleep Apnea Causes Harm

Until recently, snoring was largely disregarded in the medical community and viewed as a harmless – albeit at times, annoying and frustrating – condition.  In general, snoring usually only causes alarm when it is thought to be the symptom of an underlying serious medical condition, such as sleep apnea.  But with emerging research linking snoring with hardening of the arteries, Dr. Deeb says it is important that frequent snorers consult their doctors in order to assess the current health of their arteries, as well as to help prevent any potential further damage.

Because snoring is not a lifestyle choice, but rather, an involuntary bodily function, it is important to choose healthy actions that are under your control.  For example, you may not have control over your snoring, but you do have control over how much physical activity you engage in on a regular basis.  So just because your snoring may put you at an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, it doesn’t let you off the hook for being proactive and fulfilling your health potential.