Snoring (and, even more seriously, sleep apnea) is not just an innocent annoyance.
When you snore, you don’t breathe properly, and your blood oxygen level goes down.
And according to a new study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, this can cause the one disease most of us dread the most.
The authors obtained their participants from the European Sleep Apnea Database, which records the medical records of people who have visited 33 medical centers across Europe.
They identified 20,000 adults who had been diagnosed with sleep apnea and had enough information to rank them from the least to the most severe cases.
When analyzing their complete medical records, they found that two percent of their subjects had also had a cancer diagnosis at some time in their lives.
It turned out that sleep apnea severity could predict the prevalence of cancer, especially in women.
Women with the most severe sleep apnea were much more likely to have a cancer diagnosis than women with mild sleep apnea.
This relationship between sleep apnea and cancer was present in men but was much weaker.
Why does this happen?
Most likely because cancer cells don’t function well in an oxygen-rich environment. When you stop breathing due to sleep apnea, or even when your breathing is constricted due to snoring, your blood oxygen level goes down, which then causes snoring.
This is yet another reason why it’s so important to treat snoring and sleep apnea as soon as possible.