Snoring isn’t just a minor annoyance; when it becomes chronic and goes unchecked, it may increase your risk to having abnormalities in your carotid artery, reports.

Together with his colleagues, Dr. Robert Deeb of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit reviewed data on 913 patients ages 18 to 50 years old from the institution’s sleep center. None of the patients included in the study had sleep apnea. Out of the group, 54 completed surveys regarding their snoring habits and took a carotid artery duplex ultrasound to measure their arteries.

Thickness of the carotid arteries may predict the development of atherosclerosis, which is the accumulation of fatty acids along the artery wall.

Results showed that in snorers, the intima-media, or the two innermost layers of the arterial wall, were thicker as compared to non-snorers, regardless of the presence or absence of hypertension and diabetes. This thickening may be “due to the trauma and subsequent inflammation caused by the vibrations of snoring.”

This sheds new light on what most people commonly think as irritating or even funny. “Our study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that isolated snoring may not be as benign as first suspected. 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,” Dr. Deeb concludes.

(Photo by Renato Ganoza via Flickr Creative Commons)

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