It’s often easier said than done to get a good night’s sleep. If you can get your bearings, you may be among a third of American adults who do not have the recommended amount of uninterrupted sleep they need to protect their health. And while the occasional night of poor sleep may just leave you tired and irritable the next day, regular lack of good-quality sleep can have serious health repercussions. The scary thing is that you may not even realize that your sleep is suffering, which allows underlying health conditions to develop over time. A new study sheds light on one nighttime habit that may increase the risk of cancer. Read on to learn about this common sleep behavior and what to do if you struggle with it.
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The first signs of cancer are often subtle and difficult to spot. Early symptoms of cancer that should not be ignored include unintentional weight loss, fatigue, fever, and unexplained pain. If any of these occur, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.cancer.gov/…cancer/causes-prevention/risk
Many habits related to lifestyle, environmental factors, and underlying medical conditions can increase your risk of developing cancer. These include obesity, cardiometabolic disease, smoking, drinking alcohol, an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise, reports the National Cancer Institute. The most common types of cancer to watch out for are breast, lung, prostate, colon, and skin cancers.
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If you are a snorer, you have an increased risk of cancer, says a new study presented in September 2022 at the International Congress of the European Society for Respiratory Diseases (ERS) in Barcelona, Spain. Snoring is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – a common condition where breathing stops and begins to repeat while you sleep. This prevents the body from getting enough oxygen and increases the risk of many health complications, including cancer, heart failure, blood clots, and cognitive decline.
“It is already known that patients with obstructive sleep apnea have an increased risk of developing cancer, but it is unclear whether this is due to OSA alone or related cancer risk factors such as obesity, cardiometabolic disease and lifestyle factors. ,” He said Andreas Palm, MD, one of the research researchers and senior consultant at Uppsala University in Sweden, said. “Our findings show that oxygen deficiency from OSA is independently associated with cancer.”
In the study, researchers analyzed data from 62,811 patients in Sweden over the five years before starting OSA treatment. For several years, participants received OSA treatment through Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This device supplies air pressure through the mask to keep the airway open while you sleep. The findings showed that participants with OSA had an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
Of the study participants, 2,093 patients who had OSA and a cancer diagnosis were combined 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 and Hypopnea Index (AHI), a scale that measures the number of breathing disturbances during sleep, or the Oxygen Desaturation Index (ODI), which measures the rate at which blood oxygen levels drop by at least three percent over the course of ten seconds or more in an hour.
“We found that the cancer patients had slightly more severe OSA,” said Palm. “In a further subgroup analysis, the 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 do a test to diagnose OSA. Two types of tests – nighttime polysomnography and home sleep tests – are used to monitor breathing patterns, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep.
Fortunately, therapeutic and surgical treatments are available to treat OSA and reduce the risk of cancer. The most common treatment is a CPAP device, but other treatment options include taking extra oxygen and using an oral device to keep your throat open while you sleep. In addition, your doctor may recommend adopting healthy lifestyle habits to address milder OSA cases. These can include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol, and quitting smoking.