Loud Snorers Beware

Loud snoring may be a sign of Sleep Apnea Syndrome, a potentially fatal disease. The most common kind of sleep apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, is a widespread phenomenon. Sleep apnea, meaning cessation of breath, is characterized by repeated episodes of upper airway obstruction that occur during sleep, usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. The hallmark of the disorder is excessive daytime sleepiness and compromised quality of life, and other symptoms may include morning headaches, dry mouth, dizziness, frequent nocturnal waking, frequent episodes of obstructed breathing during sleep and of course loud snoring.

The association between Sleep Apnea Syndrome and cardiovascular morbidity has been repeatedly demonstrated since the first studies of apneic patients. The risk of heart failure is 5 to 9 times higher for people suffering from sleep apnea, while middle-aged patients are at a 3 to 5 times higher risk of dying in a car accident by dozing off. Over the years impressive progress has been made in delineating how sleep apnea causes cardiovascular diseases, such as a recent study conducted at Rabin Medical Center by Dr. Nir Peled, a pulmonary specialist and expert in sleep disorders at the Pulmonary Institute and a resident in Oncology at the Davidoff Center, and Professor Mordechai Kramer, Director of the Pulmonary Institute.

This study found that people who suffered from sleep apnea had thicker blood flow that is indeed associated with cardiovascular diseases. There is a wide spectrum of treatments available to treat sleep apnea, including weight loss, dental appliances, surgery, wearing a mask-like device during sleep that supplies pressurized air (CPAP) and medications. It is important to note that proper treatment is effective in returning blood flow to normal functioning and reducing the risk of cardiovascular complications and death.

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