October 24, 2020

Sleep apnea raises risk of cancer for women

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Citlalli sunbathes at a public swimming pool in Mexico City, Mexico on March 29, 2017. Delia Citlalli Pineda Corzo, a 21-year-old Mexican girl, lives with her 42-year-old mother Diana Cristina Corzo Zárate in a two-room apartment in Mexico City. She was diagnosed with Prader-Willi syndrome at age four. At age 15, doctors detected that she had diabetes. Citlalli weighs 106 kilos (233.6 pounds) and stands 150 centimeters (4 feet 11 inches). She has a BMI of 50.5, making her morbidly obese. She also suffers from sleep apnea. Citlalli lacks the faculty of speech and cannot read, but her mother says they have developed their own form of communication. Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a rare genetic disorder caused by an abnormality in chromosome 15. In newborns symptoms include weak muscle tone (hypotonia), poor appetite and slow development. In childhood the person experiences a sensation of constant hunger no matter how much he/she eats which often leads to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. There may also be mild to moderate intellectual impairment and behavioral problems. Physical characteristics include a narrow forehead, small hands and feet, short in stature, and light skin color. Prader-Willi syndrome has no known cure. However, with early diagnosis and treatment such as growth hormone therapy, the condition may improve. Strict food supervision is typically required. PWS affects an estimated 1 in 10,000 to 30,000 people worldwide. (Photo by Bénédicte Desrus/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

Some people with sleep apnea have an increased risk of cancer, and the odds might be higher for women than men, researchers say.

“Recent studies have shown that low blood oxygen levels during the night and disrupted sleep, which are both common in [obstructive sleep apnea], may play an important role in the biology of different types of cancers,” study leader Athanasia Pataka said.

“But this area of research is very new, and the effects of gender . . . have not been studied in detail before,” said Pataka, an assistant professor of respiratory medicine at Aristotle University in Greece.

The researchers examined data from more than 19,000 sleep apnea patients in Europe in order to assess the link between obstructive sleep apnea severity, low blood oxygen blood levels and cancer risk.

In people with the sleep disorder, the airway closes completely or partially many times during sleep, reducing levels of oxygen in the blood. Common symptoms are snoring, disrupted sleep and excessive tiredness.

The study found people who have more airway closures during sleep and whose blood oxygen saturation levels fall below 90% are diagnosed with cancer more often than people without sleep apnea.

The researchers also found cancer was more common among women than men, even after factors such as age, body mass index (BMI), smoking, and alcohol consumption were taken into account.

Among the patients in the study, 2% had been diagnosed with a serious cancer, including 2.8% of women and 1.7% of men. Those diagnosed with cancer were more likely to be older than 50 and less overweight. The most common type of cancer among women was breast cancer, while prostate cancer was the most prevalent among men.

The study cannot prove the sleep disorder causes cancer, only that there is an association between the two.

Still, the findings suggest sleep apnea could be an indicator for cancer in women, but more research is needed to confirm that, according to the study authors. The findings appear in the May 20 issue of European Respiratory Journal.

The signs of sleep apnea might be less noticeable in women, the researchers pointed out.

“The classic symptoms of [sleep apnea] such as sleepiness, snoring, and stopping breathing during the nighttime are reported more frequently in men, but other lesser-known symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, depression, and morning headaches are more common in women,” Pataka explained in a journal news release.

She suggested “clinicians should be more careful when evaluating their female patients for possible [sleep apnea].”

Dr. Anita Simonds, vice president of the European Respiratory Society, pointed out the overall cancer prevalence was low – just 2%.

Therefore, sleep apnea patients should not be alarmed by this research, said Simonds, who was not involved in the study.

© HealthDay

For more on this story go to: https://www.newsmax.com/health/health-news/sleep-apnea-fatigue-headaches-women/2019/05/22/id/917228/?ns_mail_uid=6952f1f9-507d-4a20-8cc0-0a1db158d76e&ns_mail_job=DM65536_11072019&s=acs&dkt_nbr=010502jtvskk

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