Thursday, March 24, 2016

New Study Finds Link Between Sleep Apnea and Cancer Growth

More than 18 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea, a disease that works by interrupting the ability to rest soundly. It might even affect your partner's ability to rest due to loud snoring. However, according to some recent data, the side effects of sleep apnea could actually be more dangerous than interrupted sleep. Results are now linking sleep apnea to the growth of cancer. Specifically, through blood vessels and how quickly they are able to expand through tumors.

These same researchers explain that intermittent hypoxia (lack of oxygen flow) "is associated with worse mortality and aggressiveness in some types of cancer." 

This blood vessel link was found through the use of mice and kidney cancer. By exposing the mice to various levels of oxygen, they found that tumor-based blood vessels were more likely to form and expand, growing the tumor overall. Whereas, in those who received steady oxygen flow (and in higher levels), the same was not true of the affected blood vessels. 

However, facts are still in the works. While this correlation certainly seems disheartening in theory, there is plenty to be learned and addressed between sleep apnea and it's ongoing side effects. They also pointed out that more links need to be made – and a varied test model – before the data is applicable to humans. Including looking for exceptions in particular, the researchers said. 

Instead, the current facts that were obtained from mice can be used to find more information, as well as how to better study sleep apnea as a whole and how it might affect any type of body.

To learn more about sleep apnea and how it can affect your health outside of sleep, talk with your doctor. Then be sure to check back in for more sleep-related news.