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Heart Disease overview > Heart Health Q&A >

Snoring and HEart Attack Risk

Q: My cardiologist tells me my snoring may be increasing my risk of heart disease and wants me to see a sleep specialist. How does snoring affect your heart?

A: Snoring itself doesn’t adversely affect your heart, but it is sometimes a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition where you periodically stop breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea causes your blood oxygen levels to drop, which increases your heart’s workload and impairs sleep quality. Numerous recent studies have shown that uncontrolled sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart attack and arrhythmias, and makes high blood pressure and obesity more difficult to control. If you have sleep apnea, effective treatment is available.

Sharonne Hayes, M.D., is associate professor of medicine and cardiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

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