Sleep Apnea
Thursday, October 30, 2008

The interrupted nighttime breathing of sleep apnea appears to increase the risk of dying, according to a study by University of Wisconsin researchers. Dr. Edward Hill discusses healthy school lunches in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

Suffering from sleep apnea may do more than just spoil a good nightís sleep. A new study shows that people with severe sleep apnea may be up to three times more likely to die prematurely, and that risk increases if the sleep disorder is left untreated.

Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that causes frequent pauses in breathing during sleep and is often accompanied by snoring. In the study, researchers looked at more than 1,500 adults for 18 years. The results showed that about 19 percent of those with severe sleep apnea died during the follow-up period compared with only 4 percent of those without sleep apnea.

Researchers found the risk of premature death increased as the severity of sleep apnea increased, but findings suggested protection from risk of death with proper treatment of sleep apnea, such as the use of continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP.

The link between sleep apnea and heart-related death was especially strong. About 42 percent of the deaths in people with severe sleep apnea were caused by heart disease.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.