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Men Who Snore 'Are Twice As Likely To Die Early'
 
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29-Aug-2009  
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Men who snore loudly may have a shorter life expectancy than those who sleep quietly. In fact, say scientists, middle-aged men who have severe sleep apnoea, a common disorder characterised by snores, gasps and snorts, are twice as likely to die during any given time period.

It is unclear whether the interruptions to sleep are causing ill-health or if they are a symptom of underlying problems.

But, with millions suffering from sleep apnoea, scientists behind a large-scale study say it is important to see whether treating the condition boosts health. In Britain alone, three million have the condition.

The U.S. researchers, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, tracked the health of 6,000 men and women aged 40-plus for eight years.

Medicals were carried out at the start of the study and sleep patterns were assessed for evidence of sleep apnoea - in which over-relaxation of the muscles in the throat can cause breathing to stop dozens of times during the night.

The restarting of breathing interrupts deep sleep and can cause the victim to wake with a jolt. They often snore loudly and are tired during the day.

Around a third of those studied were found to have some degree of sleep apnoea, with 8 per cent of men and 3 per cent of women having a severe form in which breathing stopped more than 30 times an hour.
During the course of the eight years, 1,047 participants died.

Men aged 40 to 70 with severe sleep apnoea were twice as likely to have died as those without the condition, even when other factors such as weight and smoking habits were taken into account.
Heart disease was a particular problem among those who died, the journal PLoS Medicine reports.

The link was only apparent with middle-aged men, but the researchers said further studies might find it also applied to women and to older men.

They concluded: 'Given the high prevalence of sleep-disordered breathing in the general population, additional research in the form of clinical trials should be undertaken to assess if treatment can reduce premature mortality associated with this.'

Commenting on the research, an editorial in the medical journal said: 'Sleep-disordered breathing is associated with several adverse health conditions, including coronary artery disease.

'These findings suggest that clinical trials should now be started to assess whether treatment can reduce the increased risk of death that seems to be associated with this common disorder.'


Previous studies have linked sleep apnoea to strokes, diabetes and Alzheimer's. Daytime sleepiness can raise the risk of car crashes.
 
 
 
Source: BBC
 
 

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