People who snore loudly, have difficulty falling asleep, or often wake up feeling tired may also be at increased risk of developing heart disease and other health problems say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh.
They asked more than 800 people between the ages of 45 and 74 about the quality of their sleep. Three years later, the people who reported snoring loudly were more than twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke that includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low “good” cholesterol, high triglycerides, and excess belly fat.
Overall, 14 percent of the study participants developed metabolic syndrome. African Americans were more susceptible than whites, as were sedentary people.
The findings, which appear in the journal Sleep is said to be the first study to follow people with sleep problems over time to see if they develop metabolic syndrome.
Virend Somers, M.D., a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, says that sleep deprivation is an “epidemic” that is “almost in parallel” with the obesity epidemic and the widespread rise of risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.æ
Hormoz Ashtyani, M.D., medical director of the Institute for Sleep-Wake Disorders at Hackensack University Medical Center, in New Jersey, says that doctors should begin asking patients about their sleep quality in order to gauge their risk for heart disease and diabetes.