Apnoea, Diabetes, Obesity and Cancer

Fri, Sep 21, 2012
The oxygen starvation experienced by patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) may lead to other severe diseases, like Type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

These are the repeated findings from various studies conducted on large trial groups over extended periods during the past 10 years.  The studies clearly indicate that the fragmented sleep and bouts of oxygen starvation typical of OSA are associated with the development of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. As the research stacks up, the results are becoming increasingly unsettling.

According to research from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, between 70 and 80 percent of Type 2 diabetics also have OSA.  Other research indicates the OSA is a significant causal factor for the diabetes.  The disrupted breathing caused by OSA starves a sleeper of oxygen and stresses their metabolic balance. This can stimulate excessive adrenaline, which in turn may worsen a predisposition to insulin resistance, thus advancing diabetes.

It gets worse.  Another study reports that intermittent hypoxia (oxygen starvation) associated with OSA can initiate a cellular process known as "mitochondrial dysfunction," which plays a role in the onset of cancer.

"Finding successful treatment for obstructive sleep apnea isn't only critical to your energy levels and quality of sleep, but to your long term health, too," says Edward Grandi, executive director of the American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA). "Heart disease is another OSA hazard. Sleep apnea is frequently seen in people with heart failure and stroke, and it's known to cause a rise in blood pressure."

The bottom line is:  sleep disordered breathing conditions (covering everything from simple snoring through to severe sleep apnoea) are serious and harmful.  They should be