Snoring and insomnia are conditions that appear to predict an individual's risk of developing metabolic syndrome and may even help cause it, according to a study released Wednesday. Metabolic syndrome is a constellation of risk factors -- excess abdominal fat, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, low HDL cholesterol and high blood pressure -- that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
University of Pittsburgh researchers examined 812 people age 45 to 74 for metabolic syndrome or diabetes and gave them questionnaires on sleep quality. Adults who reported snoring loudly had double the risk of developing metabolic syndrome over a three-year, follow-up period compared with those who didn't snore loudly. In particular, loud snoring predicted the development of high blood sugar and low HDL (the good kind) cholesterol.
Adults who said they had difficulty falling asleep had an 80% increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome during the follow-up period. The study appears in the new issue of the journal Sleep.
"We believe these results emphasize the importance of screening for common sleep complaints in routine clinical practice," the lead author of the study, Wendy M. Troxel, said in a news release. Loud snoring, she said, may somehow help cause metabolic syndrome.
In other sleep-related research, doctors have found that people with sleep apnea are at higher risk of aggressive heart disease. Research presented Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America showed that people with obstructive sleep apnea had more non-calcified plaque in their arteries, considered a sign of aggressive heart disease.
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