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Sleep Apnea Linked To Premature Death In Men

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 3:20 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Sleep Apnea, Snoring, Protecting Your Family, Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Sleep, Men's Health


IMAGE SOURCE: © iStockPhotos / snoring / author: AnitaPatterson

Loud snoring, interrupted breathing and sleep disruption – classic signs of sleep apnea – raise the risk of premature death, according to a new study published in PLos Medicine.

Patients with moderate sleep apnea face a 17 percent greater risk of death, compared with those who do not have the disorder, finds the U.S. study which spanned eight years.

“The study’s primary finding is that sleep apnea raises the risk of death by 40 percent, even after accounting for several factors,” said lead study author Dr. Naresh Punjabi, associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“The findings also shows that it is the decrease in oxygen levels during sleep from sleep apnea explains the increased risk of death,” added Punjabi. Men, ages 40 to 70, with sleep apnea face a greater risk of premature death from any source, but especially cardiovascular disease, the researchers found.

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed; of the three, obstructive sleep apnea (OSP) is the most common.

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the neck fail to keep the airway open.

It is involuntary and the individual usually wakes himself up after a breathing pause that lasts at least ten seconds up to 30 seconds, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, memory problems, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and headaches. Untreated sleep apnea may also be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes.

For the study, researchers followed more than 6,400 men and women who had mild to severe sleep apnea or no sleep difficulties whatsoever. Several participants were described “snorers,” a primary symptom of sleep apnea.

Study participants were measured by a machine as they slept at home. The device recorded the number and duration of interruptions in breathing. Over an average of eight years 1,047 of the participants died – 587 men and 460 women. Among men ages 40 to 70 whose breathing was blocked the most often -- 30 or more times per hour -- the risk of dying more than doubled.

The number of women followed in the study, was too small to provide statistically meaningful results.

Sleep apnea affects more than twelve million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.

"Weight loss is the best treatment for sleep apnea. However, a nasal CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask that applies pressure to help keep the airways of a patient open while they sleep, allowing normal breathing is the most successful treatment," said Dr. David Rapoport of New York University, who worked on the study.

"Other possible treatments include tonsil removal and a mouth guard that pulls the patient’s mouth forward," said Rapoport. #


Anonymous User
Posted by Tom G
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 7:34 PM EST

If anyone has any information or knows a source that has any information on whether a spinal canal/foramen magnum narrowing or a unilateral or bilateral internal jugular foramen narrowing can cause or exacerbate Sleep Apnea, I would appreciate a posting of such a reference. I have a 52 y/o male with remote neck trauma who presented with a (physical therapist induced)hyperextension of neck motion causing loss of tounge and upper pharnyx/larynx muscle tone leading to inability to coordinate breathing and speech.He had to tilt head forward and clench his tounge in between teeth to be able to breathe and was unable to talk more than 1 or 2 words in a row for 8 to 10 minutes after hyperextension motion. He also took own blood pressure with automatic cuff and noted 158/98 reading and 46/min heart rate for 1/2 hour (normally his bp was 116/68 with pulse 58/min). After going to ER and having normal xrays of neck and negative cardiac workup symptoms resolved and went home. 2 days later he had new optometrist 1st visit with retinal photos and it was noted that he had new right optic nerve hemmorhage on photos. Previous hx included 2003 spontaneous left retinal detachment with vitreal hemmorhage and scleral buckle with gas bubble, cryoprobe and then laser surgery, but no evidence of right retinal or optic nerve bleeds in extended followup with retinal specialist in Apr 2009. I am concerned that all his symptoms of Sleep Apnea, right optic nerve hemmorhage and maybe even his prior 2003 "so called spontaneous" retinal detachment with vitreal bleed and his recent symptoms of transient breathing/speech problems may be secondary to a narrowing or instability of atlanto/occipital joint or the internal juglar foramen which contains the 9th,10th,12th cranial nerves as well as the internal carotid artery and internal jugular vein. Question is: What is best imaging study to perform to reveal such a narrowing or instability? Patient is poor Vet with only VA medical. I am his neighbor and retired MD without practice but think his providers are missing the big picture while searching for 3 or 4 different causes to his symptom complex.(Including labelling him as a psychiatric/hysterical attention seeker!)As usual in today's practice of Medicine the patient is "fragmented" to death!

Anonymous User
Posted by Brenda Walker
Thursday, August 20, 2009 2:25 PM EST

Sleep Apnea.
Both my Husband and Son had this problem. It was like living with stereo speakers at night. My son's pediatrician at NYU referred us to the NYU Sleep Apnea clinic for an evaluation. My son was booked for an over night study and found that he was awaken every 2o minutes by a lack of oxygen due to very large tonsils.
He had the surgery and now sleep thru the night.

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