According to studies, sleep apnea among young and middle aged adults is linked with increased health risks.
Preliminary reports from two studies propose that mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea is linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes and hypertension.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
About 30 million adults in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea, says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. In this chronic disorder, there will be repeated obstruction in the upper airway while the person is sleeping. The usual warning symptoms include snoring and too much daytime sleepiness.
Alexandros N. Vgontzas, MD, principal investigator and lead author, who serves as Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine said, “we discovered that even mild sleep apnea was highly linked with increased risk of developing hypertension by 4 times as in comparison with persons without sleep apnea. In the same way, moderate sleep apnea was linked with increased risk for diabetes development by nearly 3 times when compared to people without sleep apnea.”
Young and middle-aged adults were found to have strong links as per the results.
Yun Li, MD, postdoctoral scholar and lead author of the study said, “our findings recommend that early diagnosis and treating mild-to-moderate sleep apnea is necessary to avoid future cardiometabolic disease in young and middle-aged adults. As the link between sleep apnea and metabolic abnormalities were stronger in this age group, importance should be given on annual monitoring of indices of metabolic disorders and lifestyle interventions including healthy diet, weight control, stress management and regular exercise.”
While earlier research has showed the link between severe sleep apnea and increased risk for developing diabetes and hypertension, information about mild-to-moderate sleep apnea were unknown.
These two studies involved the Penn State Adult Cohort, a random common population sample of 1,741 adults. Participants took a comprehensive medical history interview at baseline and were reviewed in a sleep center during an overnight sleep study. The participants who do not have hypertension or diabetes at baseline were evaluated after 10 years.