Two new studies underline the health risks of snoring

Whatever your age, or your current state of health, the warning that is given to you loud and clear by heavy snoring cannot and should not be overlooked.

Check-up time

Check-up time during pregnancy – and later in life for diabetes

Half of pregnant women who have hypertension and snore have OSA
New research shows that1 in 2 hypertensive pregnant women who habitually snore may have unrecognized obstructive sleep apnoea, a sleeping disorder that can reduce blood oxygen levels during the night and that has been linked to serious health conditions.

Habitual snoring, which is where snoring happens three or more nights a week, is the hallmark symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which has been shown to increase in frequency during pregnancy. And affect up to one-third of women by the third trimester

In addition, one in four hypertensive pregnant women who don’t snore also unknowingly suffer from the same sleeping disorder, according to the study that appears in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

“Our findings show that a substantial proportion of hypertensive pregnant women have obstructive sleep apnea and that habitual snoring may be one of the most telling signs to identify this risk early in order to improve health outcomes. Prompt recognition, evaluation, and management can only improve health benefits for both mothers and babies.”
Sleep apnoea linked to diabetes in largest ever study
This was a long-term study of over 8,000 adults from 1994 right up to 2111 and the findings were published online ahead of publication in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Patients with OSA were tracked for diabetes throughout this period and the results were conclusive. Previous studies have been on a smaller scale and also for shorter periods so this new study now leaves no doubt of the OSA-Diabetes relationship.

Patients were classified into groups of differing OSA severity according to how many pauses in breathing, or apnoeas, they suffered per hour of their sleep:

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5 or less          Non-sufferers of OSA                     Control Group

5 to 15           Mild sufferers of OSA                     Risk of diabetes 23% higher

15-30              Moderate sufferers of OSA          Risk of diabetes 23% higher

30 plus           Severe sufferers of OSA                Risk of diabetes 30% higher
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The main results showed almost 12% of all patients who snored heavily and most likely had OSA developed diabetes. Those sufferers who fell into the Mild or Moderate Groups had a 23% higher risk of developing diabetes than Non-sufferers, whilst those in the Severe group had a risk that was as much as 30% higher.

The following statement was made to sum up the findings:

“After adjusting for other potential causes, we were able to demonstrate a significant association between OSA severity and the risk of developing diabetes, Our findings that prolonged oxygen desaturation, shorter sleep time and higher heart rate were associated with diabetes are consistent with the mechanisms thought to underlie the relationship between OSA and diabetes.”

“These findings may allow for early preventative interventions in these patients.”

If you snore heavily, and gasp for breath, with the consequence of disturbed sleep, you should take immediate steps to correct your breathing pattern, and this will prove highly beneficial to your future health. The solution may be as simple as wearing a simple oral appliance.

John Redfern