Every night, millions of patients miss out on countless hours of sleep due to sleep apnea, making it a very common and widespread issue. But if you’re familiar with the condition, you probably know that among all of the problems it can cause, it also has the potential to increase a person’s chances of getting cancer. However, research shows that this link is actually stronger in women than in men. Here’s more about this link and what you can do to lower your risk.
What The Research Shows
Researchers analyzed data on over 20,000 adults with sleep apnea, specifically searching for a connection between sleep apnea severity, low blood oxygen levels, and cancer risk. The data showed that people who have more airway closures during sleep and whose blood oxygen saturation levels fall below 90% are diagnosed with cancer more often than people without sleep apnea.
The research also found that cancer was more common among women than men, even after factors such as age, body mass index, and lifestyle habits were taken into account. Oddly enough, the classic symptoms of sleep apnea, such as snoring and fatigue, are reported more frequently in men, but other lesser-known symptoms like insomnia, depression, and morning headaches are more common in women.
Even though this research can’t prove that sleep disorders cause cancer, as there are several other factors in play, there is still a clear association between the two and the findings suggest that it’s more common in women.
What You Can Do
Even though research is still ongoing, it does suggest that sleep apnea treatment can potentially lower the risk of cancer, especially in women. This means that if you are exhibiting signs and symptoms of the condition, it’s in your best interest to seek out a diagnosis followed by treatment.
The most common way sleep apnea is treated is with the help of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, but oral appliance therapy is also often utilized. In any case, lifestyle modifications like weight loss and altering sleeping positions can also prove useful. In severe cases, surgery can be performed to correct anatomical obstruction in the throat.
In short, sleep apnea can pose a serious threat to much more than just your nightly rest if the issue remains untreated; the link between it and cancer should be reason enough to seek out treatment and safeguard yourself!
About 21st Century Sleep Seminars
Dr. Kent Smith is one of the top professionals in sleep medicine, and he’s excited to share his wealth of knowledge with the rest of the dental world so that sleep apnea treatment can become a much more accessible and effective option for patients everyone. To learn more, feel free to visit the 21st Century Sleep Seminars website or give them a call at (972) 255-3712.