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Asthma Patients Have Higher Risk of Sleep Apnea

Adults who suffer from asthma have an increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, according to a Wisconsin Sleep Cohort study published in the January 13th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In 1988, the authors of the study began tracking 550 men and women between the ages of 30 and 60. At the very beginning, about 15% had asthma. Every four years, participants underwent sleep tests and answered general questions about their health. During the first follow-up, the study authors found that 27% of the asthmatic patients had developed sleep apnea, compared to only 16% of those who didn't have asthma.

While the long-term study couldn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between asthma and sleep apnea, it did reveal that individuals with asthma have about a 40% increased risk of developing sleep apnea than their non-asthmatic counterparts.

Unfortunately, there's a chance that many asthmatics who have sleep apnea may not even realize that they are suffering from the latter. Recent data from the National Sleep Foundation suggests that 13% of individuals who have sleep apnea remain undiagnosed, which means that they're not receiving the treatment they require.

Sleep apnea is typically a very treatable disorder, but without treatment, it can lead to some serious health issues. For this reason, it's important to understand the symptoms of sleep apnea and additional risk factors aside from having asthma. If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to consult a physician so he or she can determine whether you have sleep apnea.