Getting a good night’s rest is often easier said than done. If you can identify, you may be among the one-third of American adults who don’t get the recommended amount of uninterrupted sleep they need to protect their health. And while the occasional bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling tired and cranky the next day, regularly missing out on quality sleep can have serious health repercussions. The scary part is that you may not even realize that your sleep is suffering, allowing underlying health conditions to develop over time. A new study sheds light on a nighttime habit that can lead to an increased risk of cancer. Read on to learn about this common sleep behavior and what to do if you’re having trouble.
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The first signs of cancer are often subtle and difficult to detect. Early symptoms of cancer that you should not ignore include unintentional weight loss, fatigue, fever, and unexplained pain. If you have any of these problems, schedule an appointment with your health care provider as soon as possible.cancer.gov/…cancer/causes-prevention/risk
Many lifestyle habits, environmental factors, and underlying health conditions can increase the risk of cancer. These include obesity, cardiometabolic disease, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, reports the National Cancer Institute. The most common types of cancer to be aware of are breast, lung, prostate, colon and skin.
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If you snore, you have a higher risk of cancer, says a new study presented in September 2022 at the International Congress of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) in Barcelona, Spain. Snoring is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a common condition in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. This prevents the body from getting enough oxygen and increases the risk of various health complications, including cancer, heart failure, blood clots and cognitive impairment.
“It is already known that patients with obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of cancer, but it is not clear whether or not this is due to OSA itself or to cancer-related risk factors such as obesity, cardiometabolic disease and lifestyle factors,” he said Andreas Palm, MD, one of the study’s investigators and a senior consultant at Uppsala University, Sweden, said in a statement. “Our results show that oxygen deprivation due to OSA is independently associated with cancer.”
In the study, researchers analyzed data from 62,811 patients in Sweden during the five years before starting treatment for OSA. For several years, participants received OSA treatment using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). This device provides air pressure through a mask to keep the airway open during sleep. The results concluded that participants with OSA were at increased risk of certain types of cancer.
Of the study participants, 2,093 who had OSA and a diagnosis of cancer were matched with a control group of 2,093 patients who also had OSA but were cancer-free. The researchers measured the severity of OSA using the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), a scale that measures the number of breathing disorders during sleep, or the oxygen desaturation index (ODI), which it measures how often blood oxygen levels drop by at least three percent. for ten seconds or more in an hour.
“We found that cancer patients had slightly more severe OSA,” Palm said. “In further subgroup analysis, ODI was higher in patients with lung cancer, prostate cancer, and malignant melanoma.”
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Do you snore at night? If so, see a doctor who can run a test to diagnose OSA. Two types of tests (overnight polysomnography and home sleep tests) are used to monitor breathing patterns, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels during sleep.
Fortunately, therapeutic and surgical treatments are available to treat OSA and reduce the risk of cancer. The most common treatment is a CPAP machine, but other treatment options include receiving supplemental oxygen and using oral appliances that keep your throat open while you sleep. In addition, your doctor may recommend adopting healthy lifestyle habits to address milder cases of OSA. These can include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol and quitting smoking.