The Surprising Impact Snoring Can Have on Your Heart Health

Photo: Getty Images/Andresr
Aside from being a little annoying, snoring doesn't seem like it would cause any major problems. Heck—sometimes it's even a little cute. Unfortunately, it's not all fun and games: According to new research, it could seriously affect your health, putting you at an increased risk of heart problems down the line—much more so than the male snorers in your life.

In a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), researchers looked at data from 4,877 UK Biobank participants—all of whom had cardiac MRIs—and put them into three groups based on their OSA status: those who knowingly have the disorder, those who snore, and those who have neither issue. What they found was the women with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)—or those who had it but were undiagnosed—could experience impaired function of the heart earlier. That's because the sleep disorder increases the risk of left or right ventricular dysfunction, both of which can result in heart failure.

"We found that the cardiac parameters in women appear to be more easily affected by the disease and that women who snore or have OSA might be at greater risk for cardiac involvement," said lead study author Adrian Curta, MD, in a press release. "We also found that the prevalence of diagnosed OSA in the study group was extremely low. Together with the alterations in cardiac function in the snoring group, it leads us to believe that OSA may be grossly under-diagnosed."

Because undiagnosed OSA could cause these very serious heart issues, Dr. Curta says this study is an eye-opener for snorers to get screened for the disorder—and get the proper treatment if they do. "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," she said. "If they're unsure, they can spend the night at a sleep lab where breathing is constantly monitored during sleep and even slight alterations can be recorded."

Sure, a little snoring here and there is NBD. But if it's a nightly occurrence, ignoring it could be putting your life at risk.

Here's what your sleep position might mean for your health. Or, find out the scientific reason why sleep deprivation might make you happier.

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