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Cardiovascular Health Channel
Reported December 10, 2012

Snores Sound Alarm for Heart Problems?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) – For people with sleep apnea snoring is a typical occurrence, but is there an even more sinister consequence of the disorder? A new European study has found that people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have the same cardiovascular dysfunction as people with diabetes mellitus, putting them at increased risk for cardiovascular disorders.
 
The study involved 20 patients with moderate to severe OSA who did not have diabetes, 20 patients with treated type 2 diabetes mellitus, and 20 healthy patients. Then each patient’s endothelial function was measured by flow mediated dilatation, and their arterial function was measured by intima-media thickness; the patients’ arterial stiffness was also measured.

The results showed early cardiovascular dysfunction in the patients with OSA similar to the patients with type 2 diabetes. 

"Patients with moderate to severe OSA had endothelial dysfunction and higher arterial stiffness than controls, and their results were similar to patients with diabetes mellitus. This suggests that OSA is associated with a high risk for cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Raluca Mincu from Bucharest, Romania who presented this study at EUROECHO was quoted as saying.

Although these results may be worrying to people living with OSA, better understanding of the risks associated with the disorder can help those individuals avoid developing heart disease through prevention methods.

"Patients should realize that behind snoring there can be a serious cardiac pathology and they should get referred to a sleep specialist. If they are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, they are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease and need to adopt a heart healthy lifestyle to reduce that risk,” Dr. Mincu was quoted as saying.

Other than healthy lifestyle changes, people with obstructive sleep apnea can also take steps to lower their risk of future cardiovascular problems by treating their sleep apnea.

"Although OSA treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is inconvenient – it requires sleeping with a mask – patients should use it because it can reverse the parameters measured in our study,” Dr. Mincu was quoted as saying.
So sleep apnea should no longer stand in the way of having a long and healthy life free of disease.

SOURCE:  Presented at EUROECHO, December 2012

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