Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder affecting 25 million Americans, and some sufferers are completely unaware that they have OSA. This sleep breathing disorder occurs when a partial or total collapse of the upper airways is recurrent while sleeping, causing the sufferer to gasp for air or snore, disrupting the stage of deep sleep. OSA has been linked to many health conditions. Now, researchers are discovering that liver disease may either develop or worsen when OSA is left untreated.
A recent study found that people with OSA were five times more likely to develop liver disease including, cirrhosis and hepatitis C. The study included 17,374 subjects from a cohort, all of which had been diagnosed with OSA between 2000 and 2008. The control group consisted of 69,496 people with similar demographics as the cohort subjects. Researchers conducted follow-up studies until 2010. Results concluded that subjects with OSA had a significantly higher risk of developing liver disease than compared to the control cohorts.
Although this study does not go further in testing whether or not CPAP (continuous positive airflow pressure) treatment for OSA could reduce one’s chance of developing liver disease, these findings certainly highlight the correlation between fatty liver and OSA. Liver disease is not the only disease that researchers associate with OSA. Other conditions include hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
An important takeaway from this study is that if you experience symptoms of OSA; do not ignore your body’s calling for help. If you do not sleep well, find that you wake often, or snore while you sleep, consider undergoing a sleep study.
The American Academy of Physiological Medicine & Dentistry (AAPMD) is an integrative group of healthcare professionals and consumers that collaborate and share information that helps to improve the health and wellness of the public. The AAPMD strives to provide fuller, integrated care for both children and adults, by focusing on issues such as sleep disorders and airway obstruction, craniofacial pain, child growth and development, chronic inflammation, and sports and academic performance.
The AAPMD will hold its 2016 conference at the Hilton El Conquistador, Tucson Arizona. Join the AAPMD today, and become a collaborative partner in helping bring forth information and work together to improve the wellness of individuals, families, and society. To learn more about the AAPMD, and the benefits of membership, please visit www.aapmd.org.