Cancer Risk imminent for those with sleeping disorders

Sleep apnea is now found to be having a direct link with cancer as per the two studies that has been conducted by researchers at Spain and a second study on about 1500 government workers at Wisconsin. These two studies have for the first time brought out a solid association of sleep apnea with an increased risk of cancer mortality.

Sleep apnea is a disorder that afflicts about 28 million Americans in one form or the other and in some cases it is undiagnosed. Sleep apnea in a simple medical term is a common disorder that causes fatigue, snoring and pauses in breathing that may be dangerous. The other name for sleep apnea is Sleep Disordered Breathing or SDB.

The research team headed by Dr. F. Javier Nieto, who is one of the study authors and chairman of the department of population health sciences at University of Wisconsin has conducted this study with Ramon Farre’ PhD, professor of Physiology- Unit of Biophysics and Bioengineering at University of Barcelona, Spain. The study that had been carried out by researchers in Spain, examined thousands of patients at sleep clinics and found that those having severe forms of sleep apnea or SDB had about sixty five percent greater risk of developing cancer of any kind.

In a second study that was carried out in Wisconsin on government workers indicated that those who are suffering from breathing abnormalities at night had five times the rate of dying from cancer when compared with people without sleep apnea. This research was based on an examination of 22-years of study that began in 1989 on state workers taking part in the long-running Wisconsin Sleep Cohort.

The study carried out by the researchers at the Spanish Sleep Network took a different perspective of the study that was based not on the cancer mortality among the sleep apnea patients but at the incidence of cancer by a technique called hypoxemia index. This index is based on measuring the amount of time, the level of oxygen in a person’s blood drops below ninety percent at night.

It is observed that there is a 68 percent greater likelihood of developing cancer among those people whose oxygen levels dropped below 90 percent for up to 12 percent of the total time they were asleep. In other words, as the time spent without oxygen increased, so does the risk of cancer. The results of both these studies will soon be presented at an international conference organized by the American Thoracic Society or ATC in San Francisco later this week.

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