Sleep Apnea and the Risks to Your Health

Sleep Apnea Nearly Doubles Risk for Heart Attack, Death

Obstructive sleep apnea — a nighttime sleep disorder where the upper airway narrows or collapses and affects 8 million Americans — triggers the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism, which decreases the amount of blood pumped to the heart. Researchers from Yale report it actually puts a person at a 40 percent greater risk of having a heart attack or dying over a period of four to five years. The more severe a disorder someone has, the greater the risk is. They studied more than 1,600 Researchers say you can lower your risk by appropriately treating sleep apnea, most effectively with a CPAP.

Sleep Apnea More Than Doubles Diabetes Risk

Yale researchers also report sleep apnea makes a person more than 2.5-times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes — independent of other risk factors. Again, the more severe a person in the study had the disorder, the greater his risk. Researchers say their next step will be to determine whether treating sleep apnea can improve the effects from diabetes.

Sleep Apnea Doubles Risk for Car Crash

In a study comparing 800 people with sleep apnea to 800 people without it, British Columbia researchers report the disorder puts a person at double the risk for having a car accident, and between three- and five-times greater risk for a serious crash involving personal injury. Eighty percent of these crashes were in the sleep apnea group; 20 percent were among those without sleep apnea. Researchers say they were surprised to find even patients with mild sleep apnea were having serious car crashes. Study investigator Alan Mulgrew, M.D., says, “Based on these findings, I now consider driving risk when deciding on treatment for patients with mild sleep apnea.” He also explains that the patients in the study were assessed prior to their diagnosis. Researchers say the next step would be to determine how treatment of sleep apnea affects those rates.

Source: Ivanhoe News

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