Heavy snorers could have a shorter life expectancy

Risk of dying earlier raised by 46% for snoring sufferers

Men who snore loudly could have a shorter life expectancy compared to those who sleep quietly, according to new research.
 
Scientists believe that suffering from severe sleep apnoea raises the risk of dying early by 46%. The team, led by Naresh Punjabi of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said that people with severe breathing disorders during sleep were more likely to die from a variety of causes, with the most obvious risk group being men aged 40 to 70.
 
Sleep apnoea is caused by a collapse of the upper airway during sleep. Strong snoring can be a symptom but what makes apnoea different are numerous brief interruptions in breathing. In Britain, three million suffer from the condition.

It is closely linked with obesity, high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke, but researchers have not been able to clearly quantify how much more likely it is for a person to die.

The team studied 6,400 men and women for an average of eight years. Those who started with major sleep apnoea were 46% more likely to die from any cause, regardless of age, sex, race, weight or smoking, they reported in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Medicine.

The researchers, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health, said people with milder sleep-breathing disorders were not more likely to die early.

Dr David Rapoport, of New York University, who worked on the study, said: ‘The best treatment for sleep apnoea is weight loss. However, the most successful treatment can be a nasal CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask that applies pressure to help keep the airways of a patient open while they sleep, allowing normal breathing.’

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