Does snoring increase the risk of cardiac arrhythmias?

Postdate: 26 March 2018

Snoring is usually irritating. Often it is seen as something a little funny. Someone snores and he - usually a he - is the brunt of a joke. Just something innocent you might think, but is this really true is the question. Tsuru expert and cardiologist Dr Ruud van Langeveld will answer this question.

Snoring without apnoea
This research appeared in The Laryngoscope in 2014 which discussed this issue. It involved a study with over 900 people who did snore, but had no apnoea. The ages were relatively young: between 18 and 50 years. What was noticed was that the snorers had vascular anomalies to the same extent as also seen in smokers. These vascular anomalies could also be found in equal severity in people with diabetes. That is, of course, quite a serious finding. Although you should not consider this single study to be proof, however, the suggestion that snoring (without apnoea) is just as bad for your blood vessels as smoking or diabetes, should be taken seriously.

Lack of oxygen
Sleep apnoea means that your breathing briefly stops occasionally during sleep. A distinction between just snoring and snoring with apnoea cannot really be clearly defined. Snoring can also go hand in hand with slight decreases in the amount of oxygen in the blood. When this happens during the night, your heart rate increases, you become restless and you wake up more easily. Just like your artery walls start to thicken in response to reduced oxygen levels, your heart will also react to the regular stress of oxygen deprivation. Heart muscle tissue becomes a little stiffer. This is expressed in arrhythmias, especially atrial fibrillation. It is then about - incidentally more common - disturbance in heart beat which quickly and irregularly stimulates the heart. Read more about sleep apnoea here.

If this happens once, it has no consequences. When the rhythm disorders happen more often, it is important to investigate them further. As with high blood pressure, something as common as snoring can sometimes, without you even being aware, have nasty consequences on the health status of your heart.

It is therefore wise to try to manage the snoring problem. Not only because it is so annoying to anyone next to you, but also for the quality of your health and heart.

'Snoring is a good indication that one person is asleep but no one else is'

arrhythmias     breathing     pulse rate     sleep apnoea     snoring    


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