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OSA Linked to Increased Risk of Cancer, Reduced Cognitive Function, Increased Risk of Blood Clots

January 13, 2023

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have a higher risk of developing cancer, according to a large study published in the ERS 2022.

A second study showed that OSA might lead to a decline of handing ability among the elder, In particular, people over 74 years old and men had greater cognitive decline in some cognitive tests. 

A third study indicated that patients with more extreme OSA are more likely to have blood clots in their veins, which is a life-threatening disease.

OSA is a kind of common sleep disorder. While patients with OSA were sleeping, part of the airway was completely obstructed, and they stopped breathing several times throughout the night. This will show as boisterous wheezing, wheezing, choking and daytime languor.

Dr Palm, a researcher and senior consultant at Uppsala University, Sweden, who presented the first study, claimed that:Patients with OSA have an increased risk of cancer, but it is not clear whether this is due to the OSA itself or to factors that contribute to cancer, such as obesity, cardiometabolic disease, and unhealthy lifestyle factors.

Dr Palm and colleagues studied data from 62,811 patients with OSA in Sweden. The patients were treated with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which provides positive-pressure air through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep, between July 2010 and March 2018, five years before they started treatment for OSA.

Researchers considered the factors that may have influenced the results, such as body size, other health problems, and social and economic status. They compared 2,093 OSA patients who had cancer with 2,093 OSA patients who did not have cancer. Those patients were diagnosed with cancer 5 years prior to the diagnosis of OSA. They found that OSA was slightly more severe in those patients with cancer.

That research highlighted that people need to consider untreated OSA as a risk factor for cancer. Doctors are supposed to recognize the risk of developing cancer in patients with OSA. However, according to the research, it’s not unreasonable to extending cancer screening to all patients with OSA.

In the future, Dr Palm and his colleagues were intended to add the patients in order to study the potential impact of CPAP treatment on cancer incidence and survival, after all, the link between OSA and cancer is less clear.

The research conducted by Dr Nicola Marchi had shown that OSA is associated with a greater decline in mental processing over a five-year period.

Before the conference, Dr Marchi found that OSA caused low oxygen levels in the body, which is related to the decline in overall cognitive function, processing speed, executive functioning, and verbal memory.

The doctor and the patients with OSA ought to realize it might lead to the cognitive decline. But so far CPAP treatment for OSA has not been definitively shown to prevent cognitive decline.

The researchers planned to analyze data on the effects of OSA a decade later to find out more people at greatest risk for cognitive decline related to OSA.

A third study showed that patients with more severe OSA are more likely to develop venous thromboembolism (VTE), as measured by AHI and markers of nocturnal oxygen deprivation.

This is the first study to investigate the effect of OSA on the development of unwarranted venous thromboembolism. Those with less than 90% of the normal oxygen in their blood had almost twice the risk of developing venous thromboembolism compared with patients without oxygen deprivation. Further researches are needed to determine how OSA can be adequately treated.Whether CPAP therapy may reduce the risk of venous thromboembolism in patients with significant nocturnal hypoxia needs further investigation.

Data from these three studies support the association of OSA with cancer, venous thromboembolism, and mental health. Although they couldn’t prove that OSA caused these health problems, people should be aware of trying to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of OSA, such as keep fit. However, if OSA is suspected, a physical examination and treatment should be done.

Medhave thinks patients with severe OSA need timely treatment with special Nasal interventions. For example, the systems keep the airways open while patients sleep with positive Nasal Mask, making sure they’re getting plenty of oxygen.