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Snoring sign of heart disease

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NBC News--It's fodder for jokes in movies --and can be a bedroom annoyance.  But new research shows snoring should not be ignored, and may in fact be an indicator of cardiac disease, the number one killer in America.

For the first time, doctors say snoring alone may be an early sign of heart disease.  Likening it to other well known risk factors like sleep apnea, obesity, smoking and high cholesterol.

Researchers at the Henry Ford Hospital and University of Nebraska measured the thickness of the carotid artery, the major blood vessel in the head and neck.  They found those who snored regardless of other risk factors for heart disease, had "significantly greater" thickening of those blood vessels.  That thickening is associated with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

Snoring is a telltale sign that a person's airway is being partially blocked.  Experts say the vibrations and strain that occur in the airway, can also put pressure on blood vessels in the head and neck.

So for all you snorers out there, consider this research a wake up call. Snoring is not just a joke, it's now a reason to go see the doctor.

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