Asthma Sleep Apnea Connection Probable According to New Study

The two distinct conditions of asthma and sleep apnea may indeed have a connection. A new study entitled “Association Between Asthma and Risk of Developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea” recently published in JAMA, suggests that adults who struggle with asthma face an increased risk for also developing sleep apnea.

The finding stems from the long-term tracking of about 550 men and women, about 15% of whom had asthma. The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study began in 1988, with all enrollees between the ages of 30 and 60. Every four years since that time, each completed general health questionnaires, while also completing an overnight, in-laboratory sleep test.

According to HealthDay reporter Alan Mozes, the first four-year follow-up concluded that more than a quarter of the asthma patients (27%) also had newly developed sleep apnea. This compared with just 16% of the non-asthmatic patients.

“Over the full study period, the team concluded that asthma patients faced an almost 40 percent greater risk for sleep apnea than asthma-free participants,” wrote Mozes. What’s more, the longer an individual had asthma, the greater their increased risk for developing OSA, investigators found.”

However, researchers concluded that “while the study could point to an association between asthma and sleep apnea, it couldn’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.”

The study was led by Dr. Mihaela Teodorescu, of the William S. Middleton Memorial Veteran’s Hospital and the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, both in Madison, Wisc. They published the findings in the Jan. 13 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association.

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