Sleep Apnea Comorbidities

What are they and why are they significant?


What Is A Comorbidity? A comorbidity is a health condition that a single patient experiences at the same time as another health condition. However, each is recognized as a different health condition.This doesn’t necessarily mean one health condition causes the other; it simply means the two conditions are often found together, leading doctors to acknowledge some sort of connection between them. This connection indicates that each condition is considered a “comorbidity” of the other.

What Are Comorbidities of Sleep Apnea?

Some of the most serious comorbidities associated with sleep apnea include but are not limited to:

  1. Stroke. According to a 2012 study published in Expert Review of Cardiovascular Therapy, Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) “is highly prevalent in patients with transient ischemic attacks and stroke,” also identifying sleep apnea as “an independent risk factor for stroke and all-cause mortality.”(1)
  2. Diabetes. This is a common and widely accepted comorbidity of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A 2008 study published in the journal “Chest” cites that “…the majority of patients with type 2 diabetes also have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).” This study also goes on to warn that this connection offers “compelling evidence that OSA is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease and mortality.” (2)
  3. Heart failure. Sleep apnea sufferers commonly experience insufficient or fragmented sleep, and this can negatively affect heart health. Sleep deprivation as a result of conditions like OSA means not giving the heart and cardiovascular system essential recovery time, and this has been linked to increased risk for conditions such as heart disease and heart attacks. (3)
  4. Cancer. Researchers in a published work from October 2018 found that, compared with the general population, people with sleep apnea had an increased risk of some types of cancer, including kidney cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, and uterine cancer. (4)
  5. Obesity. According to “Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Obesity: Implications for Public Health,” treating obesity “…can significantly reduce the incidence of obesity, as well as OSA and the related comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and depression.” (5)
Unfortunately, there are more comorbidities associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Among them are depression, hypertension, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more.  (6)To effectively treat your mild to moderate sleep apnea, try our comfortable oral devices.  Ask your sleep physician about Oral Appliance Therapy today!
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