Sleep apnea is a widespread disorder that causes disruptions in the breathing patterns during sleep. Often, chronic snorers have sleep apnea, but write it off as nothing more than an annoyance to their spouses. However, doctors have even more good reason to try to persuade patients to accept sleep apnea treatments, such as CPAP or oral appliances in addition to obesity and fatigue. A recent study published last month shows that there is a link between sleep apnea and inflammatory markers.

In the study, researchers looked at data pooled from various trials, involving over 1,000 patients with sleep apnea. The data shows that treating sleep apnea helps to drastically reduce the levels of two proteins that are responsible for inflammation, tumor necrosis factor and C-reactive protein, or CRP.

Previous research has showed a link between sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. While we do not know for sure if the development of these disorders is driven by the apnea or vice versa, we do know that reducing the inflammation with CPAP can reverse some of the long-term consequences.

If you or a loved one has chronic snoring or pauses in breathing while sleeping, contact Atlanta ENT for a sleep apnea consultation. The best preventative for long-term health problems is identifying and treating sleep apnea early.

Ramie Tritt, M.D., President, Atlanta ENT