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Snoring Presages Atherosclerosis

Posted Feb 09 2013 10:08pm
Posted on Feb. 6, 2013, 6 a.m. in Sleep Cardio-Vascular Stroke

More than an annoyance, snoring may put a person at a greater risk to have thickening or abnormalities in the carotid artery, moreso than those who are overweight, smoke or have high cholesterol.  The increased thickening in the lining of the two large blood vessels that supply the brain with oxygenated blood is a precursor to atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries responsible for many vascular diseases. Robert H. Deeb, from Henry Ford Health System (Michigan, USA), and colleagues reviewed data for 913 patients who had been evaluated by the institution's sleep center. Patients, ages 18-50 years, who had participated in a diagnostic sleep study and none of whom had sleep apnea, participated in the study.  In all, 54 patients completed the snore outcomes survey regarding their snoring habits, as well as underwent a carotid artery duplex ultrasound to measure the intima-media thickness of the carotid arteries.  Carotid intima-media thickness, a measurement of the thickness of the innermost two layers of the arterial wall, may be used to detect the presence and to track the progression of atherosclerotic disease. Intima-media thickness is the first sign of carotid artery disease.  Compared to non-snorers, snorers were found to have a significantly greater intima-media thickness of the carotid arteries.  The study also revealed no statistically significant differences in intima-media thickness for patients with or without some of the traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease – smoking, diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia. Submitting that: “This study shows a relationship between [primary smoking] and [intima-media thickness] of the carotid arteries,” the study authors conclude that: "As [intima-media thickness] is widely regarded as a precursor to atherosclerosis, this finding demonstrates the snoring has a potential for adverse health outcomes."

Robert H. Deeb, et al.  “Snoring and Carotid Artery Intima Media Thickness.” [Abstract 8:33].  Presented at the  2013 Combined Sections Meeting of the Triological Society, 25 January 2013.

  
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