The snoring and breathing disturbances of sleep apnoea may be more than just a nuisance, with a new study linking the condition to higher risks for heart failure and heart disease in middle-aged and older men.
Gottlieb noted that while the jump in heart risk was noteworthy, it was not as large as that seen in previous clinic-based studies of sleep apnoea because the participants were drawn from a broad community-based population.
According to background information in the study, sleep apnoea sufferers awaken suddenly during the night struggling to breathe, often experiencing a shot of blood pressure-raising adrenaline. Most often, they go right back to sleep, unaware of what happened. But the awakenings are repeated, sometimes up to 30 times an hour, depriving the sufferer of vital oxygen and sound sleep. The research is published online in Circulation.