Snoring as Bad as Smoking, Study Finds
Unless you have sleep apnea, snoring is generally something people tend to live and
deal with because it’s often more of an annoyance than anything else — especially if
it forces a sleepmate to elbow you all night or move to another room to get some rest.
Or so we think, or used to think.
Now a study conducted by researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit determined
that snoring, even of the non-sleep-apnea type, can lead to hardening of the arteries,
much like the result of smoking.
The study examined data from 913 patients, aged 18 to 50, who had spent a night having
their sleep evaluated at the hospital between 2006 and 2012. None was found to be
suffering from sleep apnea, but 54 of the patients later, as part of a survey,
underwent an ultrasound evaluation to measure the intima-media thickness of their
carotid arteries. This procedure calculates how thick the inner layers of the arterial
wall are, which in turn can pinpoint any threat of carotid artery disease.
The researchers found that the carotid arteries were thicker in snorers than in non-
snorers. The findings — the measurement of the thickness of the arterial wall —
showed results similar to patients who smoked or who suffered from diabetes or
The increased thickening in the lining of the two large blood vessels that supply the
brain with oxygenated blood is a precursor to atherosclerosis, a hardening of the
arteries responsible for many vascular diseases, researchers reported.
“Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that isolated snoring may
not be as benign as first suspected,” said Robert Deeb. M.D., researcher at Henry Ford.
“So instead of kicking your snoring bed partner out of the room or spending sleepless
nights elbowing him or her, seek out medical treatment for the snorer.
“Snoring is generally regarded as a cosmetic issue by health insurance, requiring
significant out-of-pocket expenses by patients. We’re hoping to change that thinking so
patients can get the early treatment they need, before more serious health issues
The Henry Ford researchers said they intend to conduct a follow-up study to determine
the incidence of cardiovascular events in patients who snore.
In the meantime, if you snore, regardless of the severity, it may be time to seek