Moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea is independently associated with an increased risk of stroke, cancer and death, according to study results published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (which is published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine).
Results of the 20-year follow-up study show that people with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea were four times more likely to die (hazard ratio = 4.2), nearly four times more likely to have a stroke (HR = 3.7), three times more likely to die from cancer (HR = 3.4), and 2.5 times more likely to develop cancer. Results were adjusted for potential confounding factors such as body mass index, smoking status, total cholesterol and blood pressure.
“Sleep apnea is a common disease that has a powerful impact on public health because it greatly increases the risk of strokes, cancers and mortality from any cause,” said lead author Nathaniel S. Marshall, PhD, senior lecturer in clinical trials at the University of Sydney in Australia.
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