Women, your night­time snore could be do­ing more than dis­rupt­ing your fam­ily’s sleep – you could also have a higher risk of suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack or stroke.

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Women who snore have a higher risk of suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack or stroke than men do, a new study says. The re­search, pre­sented at the an­nual meet­ing of the Ra­di­o­log­i­cal So­ci­ety of North Amer­ica, sug­gests that ob­struc­tive sleep ap­nea (OSA) is largely un­der­diag­nosed among snor­ers.

OSA, a com­mon but dan­ger­ous sleep dis­or­der, hap­pens when the throat mus­cles in­ter­mit­tently re­lax and block the air­way while a per­son sleeps.

Its com­mon symp­toms in­clude gasp­ing for air dur­ing sleep, wak­ing with a dry mouth, morn­ing headache and ir­ri­tabil­ity and loud snor­ing. The com­pli­ca­tions un­der this con­di­tion may con­sist of day­time fa­tigue, sleepi­ness, com­pli­ca­tions with med­i­ca­tions and surgery, and car­dio­vas­cu­lar prob­lems.

The re­searchers say OSA causes an in­creased risk for left ven­tric­u­lar and more rarely, right ven­tric­u­lar dys­func­tion in the heart, caus­ing car­diac risks. The in­crease in left ven­tric­u­lar mass means that the walls of the heart’s main pump­ing cham­ber are en­larged mak­ing the heart work harder.

The find­ings il­lus­trate that the car­diac changes in the sel­f­re­ported snor­ers point to ear­lier im­pair­ment and might be an in­di­ca­tion of un­di­ag­nosed OSA.

It is rec­om­mended that peo­ple who snore be screened for OSA and those with OSA be treated ap­pro­pri­ately. Also, the treat­ment is de­pen­dent on the cause of an in­di­vid­ual’s OSA, for ex­am­ple, weight loss can of­ten im­prove OSA in over­weight in­di­vid­u­als.

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