New results from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort have found that sleep apnea is associated with a high risk of death.
Sleep apnea is a disorder in which there are one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing can stop anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and this often occurs five to thirty times or more per hour. This condition usually disrupts sleep three or more nights a week, resulting in poor sleep quality.
The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort is an 18-year observational study supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Researchers discovered that adults 30-60 years of age with sleep apnea were two to three times more likely to die from any cause compared to those with no sleep disorder. The risk of death was linked only to the severity of the sleep apnea and not to any other attributes.
Researchers tracked 1,522 healthy men and women for an average of 13.8 years. Participants were tested using a standard overnight sleep test. Not only were people with sleep apnea three times more likely to die, those who were not treated were at an even greater risk. They were four times more likely to die from any cause and five times more likely to die from cardiovascular conditions.
With an estimated 12-18 million Americans suffering from moderate to severe sleep disorders, this can become a serious problem that should be brought to the attention of a doctor. With the numbers of overweight and obese people rising in the U.S., it is predicted that the number of sleep-breathing disorders in people will rise.
Source: Sleep Journal