Does Snoring Protect Your Heart?

A recent study presented by at the European Sleep Research Society revealed that men with moderate sleep apnea had a lower death rate (about 1/3) than those without sleep apnea. These findings were presented by Dr. Peretz Lavie of the Technion-Israel Institute. This paradoxical finding could be an aberration, but one possible explanation proposed was that repeated bursts of breathing pauses can condition the body to become more conditioned to this situation.  Although in general, the higher the apnea score, the more symptoms and medical problems people generally have, sometimes I do see elderly men in their 70s or 80s with an index of 70 or 80 (80 times per hour one stops breathing for 10 seconds or longer). But these people are completely without any subjective complaints and are unaware of any medical problems.  What do you do with these healthy 80 year olds that snore heavily, but do not have not have any medical problems? Do you know anyone that snores like a chainsaw, but is completely healthy otherwise?

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2 thoughts on “Does Snoring Protect Your Heart?

  1. Dr. Park,

    I just turned 50 a few weeks ago, and as if overnight I am having difficulty going to sleep, staying up most nights until 1 or 2 in the morning. In addition, the slightest sound or noise wakes me and I’m then unable to get back to sleep, until 4 or 5 in the morning. I’ve had sleep problems most of my life, I have never known what it’s like to feel rested or to wake and say that I had a good nights sleep or rest.

    I have cried at times, just wanting to sleep and although this may sound stupid for a guy to cry because he can’t sleep, but I have no idea what it means to be rested.

    I do have sleep apnea and wear a CPAP, lose it most of the time during the night, but not much difference and yes I’m diabetic. Can anyone or anything help!!!!

  2. I feel your pain. It sounds like because you’re hypersensitive to everything, the CPAP bothers you more than it helps. I assume that you’ve discussed this issue with your sleep doctor already. It’s a difficult situation. One great resource that I recommend to all my patients on CPAP is http://www.apneasupport.org. It’s a support forum with a bunch of experienced CPAP users who want to help people like you. You may also benefit from sleep hygiene training or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) if you have insomnia. Also, if your nose is stuffy, that should be taken care of as well.

    I don’t know your complete situation, but have you considered a dental device for sleep apnea? Surgical treatments are also available, but you have to be careful to find a surgeon that’s experienced in multi-level surgery, not just focusing on your nose or palate.

    Keep coming back to this site. I’m planning to have much more information in the future about all the different options for treating not only OSA, but all the adjunctive, complementary aspects of treatment that are just as important.