A Possible Link Between Sleep Apnea and Kidney Disease Progression
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is commonly associated with type 2 diabetes. Both these diseases are more commonly found in overweight and obese individuals, and another disorder that is common to them is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a blockage of the air passageways during sleep, which causes the individual to stop breathing periodically during their time asleep, causing their body to slightly wake up each time as it pushes the passageway open again. For individuals who are overweight or obese, their extra weight sometimes pushes against their air passageways and can block the lungs from properly breathing while they sleep. Because of this condition among those with CKD, type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea, researchers wonder if the statistical connection is more than just a coincidence. Scientists from the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) have looked at the possible connections between obstructive sleep apnea and kidney disease in their correlation to type 2 diabetes, looking at sleep apnea as a factor of accelerated renal function decline. Renal function is the most common indication of the state of the kidneys, because it shows how well they function in separating the toxins out from the body and pushing the waste to the proper areas of the body for elimination.
What is currently known is that type 2 diabetes can contribute to the development of chronic kidney disease. Researchers started with this information, along with knowing that CKD patients usually also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. They analyzed information from over 50 patients with type 2 diabetes and CKD who had performed a specific questionnaire to determine whether or not they also had obstructive sleep apnea. The results showed that over 60% of these patients did have sleep apnea, and those who did have OSA had a significantly lower level of kidney function than those whom it was determined did not have sleep apnea. From the research team’s study, it seems that sleep apnea and kidney disease do have potential links, because obstructive sleep apnea does indeed accelerate kidney function decline in diabetic patients who also have non-dialysis CKD. Not enough evidence was present to determine if this is also the case for those with CKD who do need dialysis. What this study shows, however, is that OSA may lead to accelerated loss of renal function in the kidneys, which leads to chronic kidney disorder progression faster than those without sleep apnea.