Asthma Can Cause Sleep Apnea: Study

People with asthma are at increased risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea.

About 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, raising risk for such serious conditions as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Researchers selected participants from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study, which involves state employees ages 30 to 60 who have participated in sleep studies every four years. They selected participants who were free of sleep apnea since the study began in 1988.

Over the course of the study, they found that participants with asthma had a nearly 40 percent greater risk of developing sleep apnea compared to those without it.

This is the first study to show a cause-and-effect between asthma and sleep apnea, which suggests that people with the lung condition should be screened for the sleep disorder, the researchers said.

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