A new study published in the journal ERJ Open Research sheds some light on a baffling question.
Why are healthy people all over the world dropping dead from a heart attack without any sign of heart injuries or abnormalities?
And the only sign that something is wrong might be their snoring.
While the researchers focused on fit young athletes, the same cause may apply to anyone who snores.
They recruited 42 male rugby players from the Nippon Sport Science University in Japan who underwent cardiorespiratory assessments both whiles being awake and asleep.
Impressively, 43 percent of them were found to suffer from sleep apnea, a percentage that the authors discovered was higher than those found in the general population and for older people.
Most of the athletics suffered from a mild form of sleep apnea, with a few struggling with a moderate form.
None of them had severe sleep apnea.
Predictably, compared with the athletes without sleep apnea, those with this disordered breathing had lower blood oxygen levels and more periods where their blood oxygen was extremely low. Importantly, they also experienced a higher pulse rate, even while at rest.
These are all indicators of a heart attack in the making.
80 percent of people suffering from sleep apnea have no idea that they have it. And the only clear indicator is loud snoring.
Snoring is almost always an indicator of some level of sleep apnea as it’s caused by blockages in the breathing passages.
And as this study shows, even a mild and moderate form of sleep apnea can lead to a sudden heart attack, even in otherwise healthy individuals.