Posts tagged sleep apnea
Untreated obstructed sleep apnea (OSA) is known to lead to other disorders. One condition it contributes to is hypertension. Hypertension, which is better known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated. According to a new study performed by scientists at the University of Chicago, there may be a way to manage this condition in those with sleep apnea.
How Does Hypertension Affect the Body?
Hypertension is a troubling condition. According to the CDC, 1 of 3 U.S. adults (70 million people) have high blood pressure. It is also the second leading cause of death in America — because it can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Patients with hypertension will often display the following symptoms:
- Altered vision
Some lifestyle choices and health conditions, like sleep apnea, may cause high blood pressure. Unfortunately, the condition can also be a part of one’s family history. This makes it harder to lower or control risk factors.
Sleep Apnea-Related Hypertension
OSA is a common cause of high blood pressure. Scientists have found that a signaling cascade associated with sleep apnea is the cause of this condition. This means that when your body doesn’t get enough blood-oxygen, the carotid bodies send signals to increase breathing and return oxygen to normal. However, blood pressure increases along with oxygen.
By nailing down which signals lead to high blood pressure, the scientists were able to offer a solution. Researchers suggest using a drug to disrupt the enzyme, known as cystathionine-y-lyase, which sends the signal (hydrogen sulfide) to increase oxygen and blood pressure.
According to the authors of the study, “Our results … suggest that inhibiting cystathionine-y-lyase to reduce hydrogen sulfide signaling in the carotid body with more potent inhibitors than L-PAG may be a novel approach to treat hypertension in patients with sleep apnea.”
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea are dangerous if left untreated. New studies suggest that the risks to those who develop the disorder are becoming greater and greater every day. One such study, reported in the “Journal of Hepatology,” suggests that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) contributes a great deal to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in adults and children.
What Is NAFLD?
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition where fat builds up in the liver. This may be due to a resistance to insulin and a metabolic syndrome. This disorder usually shows up in a high percentage of those with obesity. This is a liver disease that is not caused by alcohol, hence the name.
It is unhealthy to have too much fat stored in the liver. This causes the liver to swell up, scarring is developed, and can lead to liver cancer or failure. There aren’t that many symptoms with NAFLD. Typically the disorder causes the following:
- Spider-like blood vessels
- Ascites (abdominal swelling)
- Abdominal discomfort.
How Sleep Apnea Causes Liver Disease
Due to low levels of oxygen during sleep, many patients with sleep apnea develop oxidative stress, which means that their body has trouble detoxifying the harmful effects of free radicals. This can speed up the progression of NAFLD, and eventually lead to a worst disease called non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Lead investigator Shikha Sundaram, MD, MSCI, of the Children’s Hospital Colorado, University of Colorado School of Medicine stated, “According to recent reports, pediatric NAFLD patients with OSA/hypoxia have more advanced liver disease and fibrosis, supporting a role for OSA/hypoxia in the development of NASH. However, the mechanisms underlying this relationship have not yet been explained.”
The disease affects 30% of the general population in Western countries, and about 9.6% of all children. With the growing issue of obesity, this condition could potentially affect more people every year.
The researcher’s findings showed that patients with severe liver disease also had a serious case of OSA. They hope that correlation between the two conditions will lead to finding a way to treat patients. “We definitely need trials designed to investigate whether CPAP treatment may significantly affect NAFLD progression in this age range. The only randomized controlled trial was of relatively short duration, performed on adult patients with mild OSA/hypoxia and normal baseline transaminases, and apparently did not demonstrate any impact on steatosis, NASH or liver fibrosis,” says Dr. Sundaram.
Everyone occasionally has trouble sleeping. For minor sleep difficulties, we search for over-the-counter medicines to help us get a good night’s rest. However, is an over-the-counter sleep aid really effective? A new study reveals good news for people who wish to sleep better at night.
Over-the-Counter Sleep Aid: ZzzQuil™
ZzzQuil is an over-the-counter sleep aid made up of diphenhydramine HCL (DPH), which is a type of pharmaceutical drug known as an antihistamine. Zzzquil has been available to the public as a nonprescription drug since 2012, and comes in both liquid and liquicap forms.
The medicine is primarily used to treat allergic symptoms, the common cold, insomnia, and also extrapyramidal symptoms – a drug-induced movement disorder. Due to the drug’s sedative properties, it has been used as an effective sleep-aid for years, as well as a substitute local anesthetic for those who are allergic to lidocaine.
The Study’s Results
Thomas Roth, Ph.D., director of the Sleep Disorder and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, along with his team of researchers, sought to determine the benefits of sleep-aids such as ZzzQuil. “This study demonstrates that diphenhydramine HCI can provide benefit to people who sometimes need help getting a good night’s sleep,” said Roth.
In order to prove their theory, Roth and his researchers gathered 33 people, average age of 40. The researchers analyzed the effectiveness of DHP, versus a placebo, in order to find out if the drug had any impact on sleep.
Results were positive. On average, the test subjects fell asleep 8 minutes faster with DHP versus using the placebo, meaning they were able to fall asleep in less than 20 minutes. They also stayed asleep longer, leading to better quality sleep.
This is good news for those who suffer from sleep occurrences, which is described as having trouble sleeping for more than two nights in a row, and taking more than 30 minutes to fall asleep. It is also positive news for those who deal with sleep disorders such as insomnia. A lack a sleep can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, asthma, diabetes, and other conditions. An over-the-counter sleep aid may be what some people need to sleep through the night.
Diabetes mellitus is a disease affecting more than 22 million people in the United States. For some time, the condition has been linked to sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Scientists have yet to discover why the connection exists, but research into the matter is ongoing. One of the studies researching the link between the two disorders has found that bad sleeping habits in men can lead to a higher risk for diabetes.
Bad Sleeping Habits: Too Little and Too Much Sleep
This cross-sectional study was performed by the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam. They tested and analyzed 788 healthy adults ranging in age from 30 to 60 years old. With this study, scientists hoped to discover whether the amount of sleep one receives correlates to his or her risk for diabetes. According to the CDC, for adults, 7 to 8 hours of sleep a day is recommended.
Testing included measuring the patient’s sleep and physical activity using a device called a single-axis accelerometer to track movements. Simultaneously, using a device called a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, researchers tested how effectively the body used the hormone insulin, which processes sugar in the bloodstream. Their findings presented interesting results.
Disparity Between Men and Women
“In a group of nearly 800 healthy people, we observed sex-specific relationships between sleep duration and glucose metabolism,” said Femeke Rutters, PhD, and the study’s senior author. “In men, sleeping too much or too little was related to less responsiveness of the cells in the body to insulin, reducing glucose uptake
and thus increasing the risk of developing diabetes in the future. In women, no such association was observed.”
Men were less likely to be able to process sugar in their blood stream due to their bad sleeping habits. However, the women who participated in the study seemed to have no such problem. In women, regardless of their sleep habits, their bodies produced more insulin due to their enhanced beta cells. Their bodies were also more receptive to the insulin.
Hopefully, the results of the study will prompt more men to consider how much sleep they are getting each night. A healthy amount of sleep has shown positive results in people. However, bad sleeping habits can have a negative effect on your health and lead to other disorders.
People have to be very careful about the medicine they use. Many drugs come with side effects and warnings that can have a severe impact on your health. It can be more troublesome when the warnings on the label are incorrect. Researchers have discovered that many of the medications that carry sleep-disturbance warnings do not seem to affect the quality of one’s sleep.
Assessing the Accuracy of Sleep-Disturbance Warnings
Sleep disorders like sleep apnea, insomnia, sleep paralysis, and narcolepsy can have a detrimental effect on your daily life. Sleep apnea has been known to cause headaches, daytime sleepiness, and mood changes. Prolonged treatment of these disorders has also led to other health problems.
Many drugs are labeled as “Sleep Disturbing” after they have been tested in clinical trials. However, some scientists believe that these sleep-disturbance warnings are far from accurate. Anna-Therese Lehnich and her colleagues of the University of Duisburg-Essen in German sought to discover the truth behind the discrepancies.
Lehnich and her colleagues analyzed information on 4,221 individuals, ranging from 45 to 75 years old. They found there was no correlation between the drugs and sleep disturbance. Many of the people taking these drugs had no problems that were related to sleep disturbance.
“We found that drugs labeled as sleep disturbing do not contribute strongly to the high frequency of sleep disturbances in the general population. Moreover, the intake of several sleep disturbing drugs at the same time barely led to more sleep disturbances at night,” said Lehnich.
This study calls into question the results of clinical trials. Perhaps the test group was not large enough to provide accurate information, or the individual may have had preexisting conditions. However, scientists do know that the clinical trials for the drugs with sleep disturbance warnings do not reflect the general population. More accurate trials need to take place in order to properly inform the public about a possible drug side effects.
As parents raise their children they often worry about the state of their well-being. Thoughts such as how they are sleeping throughout the night, and how well they are preforming in school, are examples of everyday concerns. Sometimes, those concerns are one in the same. Sleep apnea in children is a growing issue, and a recent study shows that learning challenges are also on the rise.
How Sleep Apnea in Children Affects Schoolwork
Scientists from the University of Chicago brought together 1,359 public school children ages 5 to 7 years, those with and those without a pre-existing snoring condition. The students were separated into four groups based on the severity of their sleep apnea.
They underwent sleep assessment questionnaires, an overnight sleep study and a measurement of their cognitive functions. Scientist found that even snoring has a detrimental effect on a child’s memory and language and his ability to understand and pay attention. Sleep apnea in children increases the chance of developing these cognitive defects.
How to Prevent Sleep Apnea in Children
The results of the study were presented at the ATS 2016 International Conference where Leila Gozal, MD, MSc, from the University of Chicago, states, “Our findings provide further justification for exploration and development of simple cognitive batteries that can be coupled to the current clinical evaluation of children with habitual snoring such as to better guide the management of the decision-making process.”
If you are a parent worried that your child is at risk for sleep apnea, here are some common symptoms you can look for:
- Enlarged tonsils or adenoids.
- Snoring, pauses in breathing, snorts, or gasping.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Daytime sleepiness.
- Behavioral problems.
- Learning difficulties.
The study shows that sleep apnea in children can lead to cognitive difficulties, which slow the progress of your child’s development. An ENT physician specializes in helping patients with sleep apnea symptoms. Consider having your child evaluated by a local ENT physician, so that the state of their well-being is less of a concern in the back of your mind.
The first multicenter-prospective study on the relationship between cancer and sleep-disordered breathing recently occurred. Crucial findings were discovered. The study revealed a link between untreated sleep apnea and an increased aggressiveness of malignant cutaneous melanoma.
Researching Melanoma Aggressiveness
Most research into sleep apnea establishes that there is a relationship between the disorder and heart disease. However, the researchers who conducted the multicenter study wanted to know if the condition could also be related to cancer.
According to the CDC, in 2012 alone, more than 1.5 million American were diagnosed with cancer, and more than 500,000 Americans died of this disease. Globally, 14.1 million new cancer cases were diagnosed in 2012. Every day scientists are trying to learn more about this prevalent illness.
The new study involved 24 teaching hospitals that are part of the Spanish Sleep and Breathing Network. The researchers examined the progress of 412 patients with confirmed cases of cutaneous malignant melanoma. Patients with melanoma were chosen because this form of cancer can be easily observed and measured.
Patients underwent a sleep study, and researchers discovered that those with the most aggressive cancers were more likely to have a severe case of obstructive sleep apnea.
“Based on our study, it seems a relationship between sleep apnea and cancer may also exist. It is very important, however, that people with sleep apnea do not infer that they will necessarily develop cancer,” said lead author, Miguel Ángel Martinez-Garcia, MD, PhD, from Hospital Universitario y Politécnico La Fe, Valencia, Spain.
Dr. Martinez-Garcia suggests that “People who snore, frequently wake up at night or have daytime sleepiness should see a sleep specialist, especially if they have other risk factors for cancer or already have cancer. Physicians—especially dermatologists, cancer surgeons and medical oncologists—should ask their patients about potential sleep apnea symptoms, and refer them for a sleep study if they have these symptoms.”
While more research is needed, this research hints at a link between the two conditions. Hopefully more doctors, like the ones who participated in this study, will learn more about the relationship between melanoma and sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a common condition among Americans, and while most people do not take the disorder seriously, prolonged treatment can make the situation worse. According to a recent study, hospitalized patients with a high-risk for sleep apnea are more likely to require emergency medical assistance during their hospital stay. Doctors suggest that treatment can be the key to reducing these hospital emergencies.
An extended stay at the hospital is a cause for concern. This usually means your condition is severe, and doctors will have to monitor you in case you have a medical emergency. The scientists of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University wanted to investigate the relationship between these hospital emergencies and high-risk sleep apnea patients.
Reasons for hospital emergencies include significant changes in blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, mental status, seizure, symptoms of a stroke, or chest pain. These are all serious and deadly changes within patients that require emergency care.
Initial screening involved 2,590 patients with sleep-disordered breathing. Once researchers established that patients with a high-risk for sleep apnea experienced more rapid response events during their hospital stay, they moved on to testing the effectiveness of positive airway pressure (PAP) treatment.
“When we treated these patients with appropriate sleep apnea therapy, the frequency of rapid response events decreased in compliant patients,” said Sunil Sharma, M.D., Associate Professor at Thomas Jefferson University and pulmonologist with Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center.
Sleep apnea is not a condition you should ignore. “The study suggests the important role of treating underlying sleep apnea to improve patient safety and quality in the hospital. We recommend a multi-centric prospective study to confirm these findings and determine the cost benefit of such initiative to improve hospital patient safety,” Dr. Sharma said.
Patients who ignore their symptoms and neglect treatment put themselves at even-further risk. Whether a patient is high-risk or low-risk, precautionary measures have to be taken.
It can be exhausting trying to fall asleep sometimes. No matter how much you try, insomnia can keep you awake during all hours of the night. While the condition may seem like a minor frustration, it could be an underlying sign of something worse. A recent study was performed by the Department of Medical Imaging, Guangdong No. 2 Provincial People’s Hospital, Guangzhou, China. The study found a link between insomnia and damage to the brain’s communications networks.
The Troubling Case of Insomnia
Insomnia is a sleep disorder, where patients often have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Most often it is associated with daytime fatigue, mood disruptions and cognitive impairment. The condition can be a sign or symptom of several disorders, including depression, pain, or obstructive sleep apnea.
Damage to the Brain’s Communication Network
“Insomnia is a remarkably prevalent disorder,” said researcher Shumei Li, M.S., from the Department of Medical Imaging. He goes on to mention that it is difficult to nail down the key to what causes the disorder.
Looking for answers to this challenging question, Dr. Li’s team investigated the white matter tracts in insomnia patients. He said, “White matter tracts are bundles of axons—or long fibers of nerve cells—that connect one part of the brain to another. If white matter tracts are impaired, communication between brain regions is disrupted.”
Researchers tested 23 patients with insomnia and 30 healthy patients without the disorder, measuring mental status and sleep patterns. Using a MRI with a specialized technique called diffusion tensor imaging, the researchers were able to monitor the patients’ brains and the pattern of water movement along the white matter tracts. With the goal of identifying a loss of tract integrity, scientist found telling results.
Insomnia patients had considerably reduced integrity of the white matter in several right-brain regions and the thalamus when compared to the patients without the disorder. These areas of the brain control consciousness, sleep and alertness. “These impaired white matter tracts are mainly involved in the regulation of sleep and wakefulness, cognitive function and sensorimotor function,” Dr. Li said.
More research needs to be done to find a definitive relationship between insomnia and the brain’s functions. However, you may want to consult your physician if you are having trouble sleeping. Sleep apnea is common among millions of Americans and also one of the causes of insomnia. Your doctor might be able to help you find a solution before the problem becomes worse.
Delaying treatment of obstructive sleep apnea can affect your daily life. Impaired breathing leads to difficulty sleeping, which leads to daytime sleepiness. However, not treating your sleep apnea can result in disastrous consequences. According to a recent study, commercial drivers who failed to properly manage their obstructive sleep apnea were more likely to cause truck crashes.
Untreated Sleep Apnea and Truck Crashes
The recent research is considered the largest study related to obstructive sleep apnea and crash risk among drivers of commercial motor vehicles. Scientists gathered 1,613 truck drivers with obstructive sleep apnea, and an equal number who do not (the control group), to participate in the study. Their hope was to find out how well truck drivers with sleep apnea performed on the road—when they consistently used treatment.
The truck drivers with obstructive sleep apnea were prescribed positive airway pressure therapy, otherwise known as PAP therapy. The researchers decided to give the drivers an automatic-adjusting machine that could be used at home or in the truck sleeper berth while on the road. The drivers who consistently followed through with the treatment performed just as well on the road as the control group. However, the rate of preventable truck crashes was five times higher among those who did not actively use their PAP therapy.
A common symptom of untreated sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness. This could be the cause of the rise in preventable truck crashes among drivers with sleep apnea.
Consequences of Neglected Treatment
“This study emphasizes that untreated obstructive sleep apnea is a pervasive threat to transportation safety,” said American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s President Dr. Nathaniel Watson, who was not a part of the study.
Dr. Watson is not the only one who feels this way. Schneider, the North American trucking firm that researchers used to gather data for the study, terminated the drivers who did not adhere to sleep apnea treatments. However, they seem to be one of the few companies actively monitoring truck drivers with sleep apnea. Most trucking firms are not required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to institute mandatory sleep apnea screening. This is something medical experts are recommending needs to be changed.