Snoring Women Twice
As Prone To Heart Disease

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) -- The risk of heart disease and stroke is twice as high in women who snore regularly as in those who never snore, report US researchers.
"Snoring doesn't mean a woman is going to get cardiovascular disease, but it is a marker of higher risk," said researcher Dr. Meir J. Stampfer of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. "If a woman snores, she and her physician should be more aggressive about reducing her other risk factors."
The finding comes from an 8-year study of snoring and serious heart disease among nearly 72,000 nurses, led by Dr. Frank Hu from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. The researchers note that previous studies examining the association between snoring and cardiovascular disease have been short-term and have involved men.
Only a quarter of the women reported never snoring, whereas 10% snored regularly and 65% snored occasionally, according to results published in the February issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Regular snoring was more common among divorced or widowed women (11%) than among married women (9%).
Regular snorers were less healthy than nonsnorers, with a higher likelihood of having diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, the researchers report. They were also more likely to smoke cigarettes and use alcohol.
When compared with nonsnoring women of similar age, regular snorers were twice as likely to die from heart attacks or strokes, while occasional snorers were nearly 50% more likely to experience heart attacks or strokes and 61% more likely to die from them, the investigators note.
Even after adjustment for their poorer general health, the risk of cardiovascular disease remained 20% higher for occasional snorers and 33% higher for regular snorers than for nonsnorers, the results indicate.
"Our data suggest that snoring is associated with a modest but significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease in women, independent of age, smoking, obesity, and other cardiovascular risk factors," the authors conclude. They call for more research into the reasons why snoring is linked to higher heart risks, but suggest that doctors should ask patients if they snore, and pay close attention to heart disease risk factors in those who do.
SOURCE: Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2000;35:308-313.


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