Snoring has long been recognized as the most common symptom of the dangerous condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but a recent study indicates that snoring can also cause changes to the carotid artery that may contribute to an increased risk for a number of heart problems.
OSA has also been linked to a heightened risk for vascular conditions, but the findings of a study conducted at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit suggest that snoring can cause dangerous changes in the carotid artery among those who do not have sleep apnea. Researchers believe that the trauma and inflammation caused by regular snoring can thicken the linings of the blood vessels responsible for supplying the brain with oxygenated blood.
Researchers reviewed data for more than 900 patients evaluated by the Henry Ford Hospital sleep center. Patients were between the ages of 18 and 50, and participated in sleep studies between December 2006 and January 2012.
Researchers compared snoring habits among participants and found that those who snored had significantly more substantial thickness of the carotid arteries. Incidentally, none of the participants was diagnosed with sleep apnea.
The study’s authors believe that the risk for cardiovascular disease associated with OSA may actually stem at least in part from snoring itself. Fortunately, there are a number of treatments available for those who snore, including those who also suffer from sleep apnea.
A dentist with experience in the field of dental sleep medicine can evaluate your condition and recommend a custom treatment option designed to treat the source of your snoring and/or sleep apnea and help you—and your partner—restore restful sleep.