Snoring can trigger a stroke or heart attack

Whilst waiting to go into a meeting the other day I happened to pick up a copy of a daily newspaper in the waiting area, and came across an interesting comment in the column written by the well-known agony aunt Miriam Stoppard.

It should be said that as well as having performed that role, and also that of TV presenter, she is a fully qualified Doctor, having worked in several major hospitals including that in her home town, Newcastle, before going on to become the managing director of a large pharmaceutical company. She has also written several books on health including The Children’s Medical Handbook.

Here’s what she wrote:

One of my sons snored so loudly that the whole house seemed to vibrate. It was the vibrations that worried me, not the noise.
Then I read some research showing that road workers who habitually used a pneumatic drill can get disease of the arteries in their arms due to the vibrations from the drill. It’s called Raynaud’s disease and is the result of furring up your blood vessels. In cold weather, your hands get cold and painful very quickly – so-called dead hands”.

White Finger from chain saw

Coming from an area where using this type of equipment was common, I was familiar with it, but knew it locally as ‘Vibration White Finger Disease’ – which aptly describes the look of the sufferer’s hands. It was quite common amongst Forestry workers. Medical research has proved that this arterial disease is due to the regular vibrations from industrial drills or saws.

It transpires that the vibrations due to snoring can have a similar effect to this.

Snoring can trigger stroke and heart trouble – and this is because habitual snorers are more likely to develop furred up carotid arteries – the main arteries in the neck that supply oxygenated blood to most of the brain.

Further research shows the trauma caused by the vibrations of snoring may result in inflammation leading to arteries thickening, and cutting down the blood flow.

Snoring is commonly linked to hardening of the arteries around the heart, which can lead to heart attacks. It is thought that this may be due to sleep apnoea that can cause the inflammation and contribute to furred up arteries.

We assess that three million Britons have sleep apnoea, where the tissue of the throat muscles collapses, triggering snoring and, in some cases, stopping the flow of air altogether, leading to you briefly waking up, but the majority of cases go undiagnosed – mostly because snoring is still ignored – and simple treatment such as an anti-snoring mouthpiece is so easily available. These oral appliances are worn at night, preventing your snoring immediately. They are highly effective, are non-prescription and some are also NHS Approved.

They can save lives – maybe yours. 

By John Redfern