Home Health Sleep warning: Snorers at increased risk of cancer

Sleep warning: Snorers at increased risk of cancer

Sleep warning: Snorers at increased risk of cancer

The implications of snoring may be far more serious, warns a new Swedish study which links the sleeping condition to cancer, cardiovascular diseases and even poor brain health.

By Jessica Knibbs

Snoring may be caused by a number of factors including alcohol consumption, how the mouth and sinuses sit, allergies or weight.

During slumber, a person’s muscles in the roof of their mouth, tongue and throat relax and this may cause snoring.

Occasional snoring is not a major health concern, but for those who constantly suffer with the condition may also be suffering with sleep apnoea which could be highly detrimental to their health, warns a new study.

Sleep apnoea affects an estimated 1.5 million adults in the UK, and yet up to 85% are undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

Snoring is a nuisance for both the sufferer and for those sharing living spaces with one.

But snoring may also be a major risk factor for serious health consequences including cancer and heart disease.

According to a Swedish study, presented at a medical conference in Barcelona, snorers may have a greater risk of developing blood clots in their veins.

What is sleep apnoea and obstructive sleep apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is when your breathing stops and starts while you sleep.

It is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.

“If your throat closes completely when you sleep, you stop breathing for a time. It’s called an apnoea if it lasts for 10 seconds or more,” says Asthma and Lung UK.

It added: “Breathing often restarts with a gasp or grunt and some movement. You relax again, and the pattern then starts again.”

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a type of sleep apnoea.

2_Man-sleeping-and-snoring-overhead-viewIncreased cancer risk

Dr. Andreas Palm, a researcher and senior consultant at Uppsala University, Sweden, said it’s known already that patients with OSA have an increased risk of cancer.

“But it has not been clear whether or not this is due to the OSA itself or to related risk factors for cancer, such as obesity, cardiometabolic disease and lifestyle factors,” he added in the latest press release.

“Our findings show that oxygen deprivation due to OSA is independently associated with cancer.”

In the research, over 4,000 Swedish people with severe sleep apnoea were investigated to determine who were more likely to have cancer than milder cases.

Study author Dr. Nicola Marchi said: “We found that obstructive sleep apnoea, and in particular low oxygen levels during sleep, was associated with a greater decline in cognitive function, processing speed and verbal memory.”

She added: “We found that people aged 74 and older, and men, were at higher risk of cognitive decline related to sleep apnoea.”

Increasing heart disease risk

In a separate study published in the National Library of Medicine, OSA and its link to cardiovascular disease risk was further analyzed.

The study found that “individuals with severe sleep apnoea are at increased risk for coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke.

It added: “Obstructive sleep apnoea increases the risk of heart failure by 140%, the risk of stroke by 60%, and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%.”

It concluded that sleep apnoea needs to be an important target for public health interventions “aiming at reducing cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death among adults in developed countries.”

According to the NHS, you should see a GP if your snoring is having a big impact on you or your partner’s life.

You should also see a GP if you feel sleepy during the day, make gasping or choking noises while you sleep, because that could mean you have sleep apnea.


Courtesy: Mirror, UK



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