The dangers of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) should not be taken lightly. Researchers from the University of Sydney have strong evidence that people with moderate to severe OSA have a significantly higher risk of developing cancer, stroke, and face an early death.
Published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the 20-year study included 397 adults, and began in 1990. 20.6% of the participants had mild OSA, while 4.6% of the participants had moderate to severe OSA from the outset.
Over the course of the study, there were 31 strokes and 77 deaths. There were also 125 cancer events that included 39 deaths. However, mild OSA was not linked with an increased risk of stroke or cancer.
After adjusting factors such as smoking and body mass index, moderate to severe OSA was linked with a 3.7 times higher risk of having a stroke, a 2.5 times higher risk of developing cancer, as well as a 3.4 times higher risk of dying from cancer, plus a 4.2 times risk of death in general.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, OSA affects more than 18 million adults in the U.S. OSA is characterized by pauses in breathing, with the risk factors for developing the sleep disorder including being older, drinking alcohol, smoking, being overweight, having a large neck size, and having family history of sleep apnea.
It is critical to get your sleep apnea treated immediately. Signs include daytime drowsiness, morning headaches, frequent nighttime awakenings, and snoring with frequent pauses in breathing. If you think that you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, speak with a licensed physician as soon as possible as the side effects can be very serious!