Snoring linked to heart disease


If you think snoring is a sign of a good, deep slumber, think again.

Dr. Virginia de los Reyes, head of the newly opened sleep laboratory facility of the Lung Center of Philippines (LCP), said people who snore may actually be “suffering from a serious sleep disorder” like Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the most common and often undiagnosed sleep disorder worldwide.

“People who have OSA stop breathing repeatedly because their airway collapses. Airway collapse may be due to factors such as a large tongue, extra tissue in the airway, or decreased muscle tone holding the airway open. As a result, air is prevented from entering the lungs. This pause in breathing can happen 30 times or more per hour. When sleep is interrupted in this way, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other serious health conditions may increase,” de los Reyes explained.

Smoking can also cause OSA because it leads to constriction and hardening of veins and arteries.

She added that OSA afflicts four to five percent of the global population. Although there is no definite study on its prevalence in the country, de los Reyes said some studies conducted in Asian countries like Taiwan, India and China revealed that 4 to 7.5 percent of the population is afflicted with OSA.

“It may not sound much but considering that diabetes has a prevalence of 7.2 in the country and asthma has about four percent, [we can say that OSA]is as common as diabetes and asthma.”

“You don’t have to be obese to have apnea when you are Asian,” de los Reyes said, adding that even young children and teenagers who are not overweight also have the sleeping disorder.

Dr. Jonalyn Ang of the Cardinal Santos Medical Center’s Sleep Lab said Filipinos should learn about OSA.

Ang said Apnea is linked to hypertension, stroke and myocardial malfunction.

“Hindi ho natin pwedeng balewalain ang snoring, (We should not ignore snoring)” Ang said.

LCP opened its sleep lab yesterday to address different sleep disorders among Filipinos especially OSA. LCP’s new sleep lab unit is equipped with the latest kind of sleep test that complies with the standards of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

However, a sleep treatment can be costly.

De los Reyes said diagnostic tests and therapeutic treatment each cost P12,000.

“If you are going to compare this to other hospitals this is much cheaper because the standard rate is P35,000,” she said. “This is cheaper not because we lack the expertise but because it is the commitment of the hospital being a government hospital to provide affordable diagnosis system to Filipinos.’’

Aside from OSA, LCP’s sleep lab also treats other sleep disorders like insomnia, narcolepsy, Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS), Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome (ASPS), Restless Leg Syndrome, and Parasomnia.

De los Reyes said to have a restful sleep, people should avoid coffee, tea and other substances before bedtime.


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