American researchers have studied the links between asthma and sleep apnea. Their results clearly show that asthmatics are more likely to suffer from this disorder. Among the hundreds of individuals they followed, the rates of people with sleep apnea were significantly higher among asthmatics.
Asthma factor contributing to sleep apnea
Asthma is an inflammatory respiratory disease of the bronchi. The tissues of the respiratory tract suffer from hypersensitivity and become inflamed in response to various irritations. During an asthma attack, the bronchi narrow, are blocked and do not allow air to pass to the lungs. Following these inflammations, the person feels pressure in the rib cage, difficulty breathing and often suffers from wheezing and coughing which in some cases can cause death.
A team of researchers from Wisconsin studied patients, some of whom suffered from asthma. At the start of their investigation, the patients showed no signs of sleep apnea. Over the years, scientists have been able to observe that, among people who develop the symptoms of sleep apnea, the number of asthmatics is proportionally higher than the others. . Asthma is therefore a factor that significantly increases therisk of sleep apnea.
Scientists have known for a long time that sleep apnea is very often accompanied by other pathologies. Obesity, diabetes or high blood pressure are diseases often diagnosed in patients with sleep apnea. Thanks to these studies, we know that asthma is to be added to this list.
What is the relationship between asthma and sleep apnea?
Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain why people with asthma were more likely to develop sleep apnea. The first explanation put forward is that asthmatics are often overweight people. However, sleep apnea affects in most cases individuals suffering from obesity. In addition, it is very difficult to deal with the problem of overweight in these patients.
Indeed, asthmatics are in most cases treated with corticosteroids. These drugs often result in strong weight gain and significant weakening of muscles and bones. Thus, the best solution for asthmatics suffering from sleep apnea is regular exercise.
According to other researchers, the link between asthma and sleep apnea is explained by the treatments followed by asthmatics. Based on cortisone, these anti-inflammatories have the effect of causing harmful effects on the respiratory tract. The fats that accumulate in the throat thicken the tissues over time, causing the airways to narrow. Thus, breathing becomes more and more difficult. Clogged air ducts do not allow oxygen to pass easily. The result is that the person has difficulty breathing, snores and suffers from involuntary interruptions in breathing.
The superposition of these two pathologies, asthma and sleep apnea, increases the risk of critical evolutions. Indeed, the major consequence of these two diseases is a decrease in the supply of oxygen to the various organs of the body. The risk of cardiovascular complications and stroke is therefore high.
These studies show how serious sleep apnea is, especially in people with chronic asthma.
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