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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Sleep Apnea Linked with Increased Risk of Cancer Death, Growing Links to Cancers

Several new studies find links between this chronic breathing problem during sleep and cancer – sleep apnea risk highest in old people

Sept. 4, 2012 – Three new studies indicate a link between sleep apnea, a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep, and cancer. The risk of this condition increases with age. A key study that finds an association between sleep apnea and increased cancer deaths will be presented today.

Two further studies presented at the European Respiratory Society’s (ERS) Annual Congress in Vienna, Austria, also show evidence suggesting an increase in cancer incidence among sleep apnea patients and an association between the spread of cancer and sleep apnea. This research adds to evidence presented earlier this year highlighting a link between severe sleep apnea and cancer.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Aging News & Information

Older People Sleeping Less Than Six Hours See Stroke Risk Increase

Second study finds some with sleep problems are just afraid of the dark; both studies presented today at SLEEP 2012 - June 11, 2012

Stress in Older Adults Who Sleep Poorly May Lead to Poor Health, Death Risk

Stress led to significantly larger increases of inflammation marker associated with poor health and death - March 1, 2012

Aging Eyes with Yellowing Lens Linked to Sleepless Nights for Senior Citizens

Cataract could be factor in frequent insomnia among elderly; sleep quality has improved after cataract surgery - Sept. 1, 2011

Older Men at High Risk of High Blood Pressure If Not Getting Ample Deep Sleep

Reduced level of dreamless, deep sleep is powerful predictor of hypertension; as important to health as diet and exercise - Aug. 29, 2011

Older Women with Sleep-Disordered Breathing at Risk of Cognitive Decline, Dementia

Findings suggest potential role for supplemental oxygen for sleep-disordered breathing in elderly - Aug. 9, 2011

More links below news story.


 
 

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The risk of sleep apnea increases with age, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. About half of those with this condition are overweight and it is more common in men than women. A family history of sleep apnea also increases the risk.

Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that disrupts your sleep.

The NHLBI also notes that about half with the problem have high blood pressure. It is also linked to smoking, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. There is also a link to risk factors for stroke and heart failure.

First Study: Focused on cancer mortality

In the first study, over 5,600 patients from 7 different sleep clinics in Spain were analyzed to investigate the link between sleep apnea and cancer mortality.

The severity of sleep apnea was then measured, using a hypoxemia index. This index measures the amount of time during the night that a person suffers from low levels of oxygen in the blood (less than 90% oxygen saturation).

The results showed that people with sleep apnea who spent more than 14% of their sleep with levels of oxygen saturation below 90% (usually severe sleep apnea patients) had approximately double the relative risk of death due to cancer (odds ratio 1.94), than people without sleep apnea. The results showed that this association was even higher in men and younger people.

People with sleep apnea can be treated using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which generates a stream of air to keep the upper airways open during sleep. In the first study, patients who were not using this device consistently had an increased relative risk (odds ratio 2.56) of death from cancer.

Lead author, Dr Miguel Angel Martinez-Garcia from La Fe University Hospital in Valencia, Spain, said: “We found a significant increase in the relative risk of dying from cancer in people with sleep apnea. This adds to evidence presented earlier this year that found for the first time a link between cancer and sleep apnea mortality.”

He emphasized, “Our research has only found an association between these disorders but this does not mean that sleep apnea causes cancer.”

Second Study: All-type cancer incidence

Similar results were also found in the second study which showed an increase in all-type cancer incidence in people with severe sleep apnea. The link was present even when factors such as age, sex, weight and other comorbidities of participants, were controlled for.

“Further studies are necessary to corroborate our results and analyse the role of CPAP treatment on this association,” said lead author, Dr Francisco Campos-Rodriguez from Valme University Hospital in Seville, Spain.

‘We hope the findings of our studies will encourage people to get their sleep apnea diagnosed and treated early to help maintain a good quality of life.”

Third Study: Spread of melanoma

In a third study, researchers used a mouse model of skin cancer (melanoma) to investigate tumor spread (metastasis) and whether this was associated with sleep apnea.

The results showed that the spread of cancer was more abundant in mice that had been subjected to intermittent hypoxic air, with low levels of oxygen as in sleep apnea, than those who breathed normal air during the experiment.

 “The data from this study in animals strongly suggests a link between the spread of cancer and sleep apnea. This provides strong evidence to encourage further study in this area to understand in more detail the links between sleep apnea and cancer,” says lead author, Professor Ramon Farre from University of Barcelona, Spain.

More links to news about sleep and senior citizens

Senior Citizens with Sleep Problems May Have Suffered Emotional Abuse in Childhood

Research points specifically to emotional abuse, rather than physical abuse or emotional neglect

June 8, 2011


Researchers Add Colon Cancer to List of Physical Problems Possible from Lack of Sleep

Inadequate sleep previously associated with higher risks of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and death

Feb. 8, 2011


Sleep Apnea Linked to Increased Risk of Stroke; Doubles Danger for Older Men

Men with moderate to severe sleep apnea were nearly three times more likely to have a stroke than men with no or mild sleep apnea - watch video - April 9, 2010


Healthy People Need Less Sleep as They Age; Seniors Should Not Be Sleepy in Daytime

Senior citizens slept about 20 minutes less than middle-aged adults, who slept 23 minutes less than young adults in study

Feb. 1, 2010


Senior Citizens Improve Sleep by Stimulating Biological Clock with Blue Light Glasses

As we age, the lens in the eye thickens and the pupil shrinks, reducing the amount of light passing through to the retina; earlier study opted for gold glasses to block blue light

May 29, 2009


Tests for Obstructive Sleep Apnea to be Covered by Medicare

OSA is diagnosed by counting the apnea episodes or breathing disturbances during a specific time span

March 4, 2009

Sleep Apnea Connection to Stroke and Death Explained by New Study

One in 10 senior citizens suffer with sleep apnea that is more common as people age

Jan. 6, 2009


Sleeping Less than 7.5 Hours Daily May Cause Heart Disease for Elderly with Hypertension

Particularly when it occurs with elevated nighttime blood pressure; sleep patterns should be checked for those with high blood pressure

Nov. 12, 2008


Elderly Women Increase Their Risk of Falling with Less Than Five Hours Sleep

About one-third of adults older than age 65 experience falls each year

Sept. 8, 2008


Study Indicates Older People Just Need Less Sleep than Young Adults

With the same time in bed, older people take longer to fall asleep and sleep for less time than younger people do

July 25, 2008


Older Women Who Nap Less, Go Back to Sleep Easily Achieve Healthy Aging

Study of  2,226 senior women, sixty and older, finds 20.8% are “successful agers”.

June 11, 2008


Graphic Brain Scans Shows Memory Loss from Sleep Apnea

Scans reveal dwindling of brain structures that store memory

June 11, 2008


Sleep Disruption Linked to Increased Cardiovascular Risk

Certain sleep disruptions such as obstructive sleep apnea known to convey extensive cardiovascular risk

March 30, 2007


Older Men Living at Home Survive Longer with Undisturbed Sleep and 'Robust Rhythms'

Regular sleep routine – to bed and up at regular times – means good health for senior men

June 11, 2008


Snoring Linked to Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension and Stroke

Study says odds of heart attack are 34% higher, hypertension up 40%, stroke 60%

March 3, 2008


Harvard Wants America to Sleep Better and Contributes New Interactive Website

‘Health Sleep’ aimed at helping people better understand sleep

Feb. 27, 2008


Three New Studies Focus on Problems in Sleeping for Senior Citizens

Respiratory disturbances, periodic leg movement with cognitive impairment, and benefits of daytime nap are explored

Feb. 1, 2008


Reducing or Increasing Sleep Leads to More Deaths from Different Causes

Sleep Medicine group offers tips on how to get a good night’s sleep - Dec. 3, 2007


Risk of Death Doubles from Too Little or Too Much Sleep Says British Study

NIH says senior citizens should know sleep problems not a normal part of aging - Sept. 24, 2007


Ohio Scientists Pushing Blue-Blocking Glasses, Lights to Improve Sleep

Website says if glasses don't improve sleep, return them within 30 days and money will be refunded

By Tucker Sutherland, editor - Nov. 13, 2007


Senior Citizens Toss and Turn with Many Sleep Problems that Come with Aging

Many older people may not be getting enough sleep for healthy aging - Aug. 14, 2007


Geriatric Conditions May Hinder Half of All Senior Citizens in Daily Activities

Same level of dependency as older patients with chronic diseases - Aug. 8, 2007


Kicking Spouse in Bed at Night Can Now Be Blamed on Your Genes


Gene found responsible for Restless Legs Syndrome affecting 10% of senior citizens - July 19, 2007

Sleep Problems Among the Elderly Linked to Suicide Risk

Many older adults get less sleep than needed due to trouble falling asleep - June 14, 2007


Sleep Disruption Linked to Increased Cardiovascular Risk

Certain sleep disruptions such as obstructive sleep apnea known to convey extensive cardiovascular risk - March 30, 2007


Mistake for Doctors to Neglect Insomnia Treatment in Older Patients

Excessive daytime sleepiness is best predictor of poor health

January 3, 2007


Tips for Senior Citizens to Get a Good Nights Sleep Offered by Longevity Center

New report issued: The Role of Sleep In Healthy Aging

December 7, 2006


Sleep Studies of Older People Find Behavioral Treatment Helps Insomnia; Women Endangered by Restless Legs

October 2, 2006


Sleep Evaluation Should be Routine Medical Care Says Editorial

September 18, 2006


Advice for Senior Citizens on Finding a Good Night's Sleep

Research finds that sleep problems grow with the accumulation of illnesses, not years.

September 18, 2006

 

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