Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which a person stops
breathing during the night, perhaps hundreds of times.
These gaps in
breathing are called apneas.
The word apnea means absence of
breath. An obstructive apnea episode is defined as the absence of
airflow for at least 10 seconds.
Sleep apnea is usually accompanied by snoring, disturbed sleep,
and daytime sleepiness. People might not even know they have the
Common sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Waking up with a very sore and/or dry throat
- Loud snoring
- Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
- Sleepiness or lack of energy during the day
- Sleepiness while driving
- Morning headaches
- Restless sleep
- Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex
- Recurrent awakenings or insomnia
Researchers in Spain followed thousands of patients at sleep clinics and
found that those with the most severe forms of sleep apnea had a 65
percent greater risk of developing cancer of any kind. The second study,
of about 1,500 government workers in Wisconsin, showed that those with
the most breathing abnormalities at night had five times the rate of
dying from cancer as people without the sleep disorder. Both research
teams only looked at cancer diagnoses and outcomes in general, without
focusing on any specific type of cancer.
After controlling for age, race, body mass index, education level,
smoking status, the presence of diabetes or hypertension, and the use of
antidepressants and other medicines, the women with sleep-disordered
breathing at the start of the study were 85 percent more likely to have
mild cognitive impairment or dementia after five years than those whose
nighttime breathing was normal.
Men and women who said they snorted/stopped breathing at least
five nights per week were three times more likely to show signs of major depression,
compared to those who said they never snorted or stopped breathing
during sleep. That takes into consideration other factors, such as
weight, age, sex, and race.
Possible explanations for the link between sleep-disordered
breathing and depression include diminished oxygen to the brain and
ARES™ Unicorder provides acceptably accurate estimates of Sleep Disordered Breathing indices
compared to conventional laboratory nocturnal polysomnography for both the simultaneous and
in-home ARES™ data. The high sensitivity, specificity, and positive and
negative likelihood ratios obtained in the group we studied supports the
utility of an ambulatory limited-monitoring approach not only for
diagnosing sleep disordered breathing but also to rule out Sleep Disordered Breathing in
suitably selected groups.
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