Snoring is a common problem and can affect even healthy individuals, but apparently there is more to this condition than most know.

Research findings have shown that snoring can also be indicative of various health conditions, which highlights the importance of recognising whether an individual’s snoring is related to a more serious underlying health problem.

In addition, many studies have investigated various risk factors that can contribute to snoring as well as its effects. The following are five interesting study findings on this particular subject.

1. Snoring and cancer

A study presented at the Annual Congress of the European Association of Urology in Munich, led by Dr. Antoni Vilaseca, found that sleep apnea (often indicated by loud snoring) can be associated with worse cancer outcomes.

The findings were based on the discovery of a reasonable mechanism for cancer to progress due to restricted oxygen flow. Sleep apnea has also been previously linked to increased risks of other health conditions such as high blood pressure and stroke.

2. The link between snoring and traffic noise

Sleep disorders and disturbances may often be associated with factors such as stress, medications or certain health conditions. However, an interesting finding from the Respiratory Health in Northern Europe (RHINE) study discovered the link between habitual snoring and traffic noise.

The questionnaire study was conducted among over 12,000 adults in seven North European cities. Researchers had analysed bedrooms that are situated close to roads with traffic, those exposed to traffic noise as well as participants travelling regularly along busy roads.

Based on the results, one in four of those involved in the study reported habitual snoring. The research also suggested that one is 29% more likely to be a habitual snorer if exposed to traffic noise while sleeping.

3. Snoring and diabetes mellitus

The association between snoring and sleep apnea with diabetes mellitus has been a subject that has received a considerable amount of attention among researchers. A 2009 study revealed the association between snoring and witnessed sleep apnea with diabetes mellitus in women.

This association was not observed among men, except for witnessed sleep apnea in men aged 25 to 54 years old. Findings were based on questionnaire data from 7,905 subjects who attended a visit for a physical examination. 

4. Snoring and its relation to sleepiness and pregnancy outcome

One study found that the frequency of snoring increases during pregnancy, and the most probable cause is the narrowing of the upper airways due to oedema. This frequency had more than doubled from the first to the third trimester of pregnancy.

In another study among over 3,000 pregnant women, maternal snoring was found to increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. The results showed that chronic snorers (women who snored both before and during pregnancy) were independently associated with gestational diabetes mellitus, while pregnancy onset snorers (those whose habitual snoring started during pregnancy) were at higher risk of caesarean delivery, as well as having macrosomia and large for gestational age infants.

Additionally, both types of snorers were associated with placental adhesion.

5. Association with heart failure in women

In a 2016 study, researchers found that the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, a combination of snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, are associated with increased risk of developing heart failure in women. This is consistent with findings from an earlier study which suggested that snoring is associated with a modest, yet significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease in women.

Based on the study results, occasional snorers had a 20% increase in risk of cardiovascular disease compared with non-snorers, while regular snorers had a 33% increase in risk. These results were obtained after taking into account factors such as age, smoking, BMI and other cardiovascular risk factors. MIMS

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