A new study has suggested that those suffering from sleep apnea have a higher risk of developing pneumonia.
The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Sleep apnea, also called obstructive sleep apnea, is a serious condition where the upper airway is obstructed during sleep. It is characterized by sleep disorders caused by soft tissue obstructing the upper airway, cutting off the oxygen supply. Scientists stress, this can happen hundreds of times a night.
Sleep apnea is also associated with heart disease and cognitive impairment.
About 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, a National Sleep Foundation report says.
Dr. Vincent Yi-Fong Su, of Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taiwan, and colleagues carried study on over 34,000 patients from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database (nearly 7,000 patients with sleep apnea matched to over 27,000 people without sleep apnea).
The participants were followed for 11 years during the period 2000 and 2010 end. The researchers divided the participants into two groups and compared occurrence of pneumonia in groups.
They found the group with sleep apnea had a 1.20-fold increase in incident pneumonia, compared with the group without sleep apnea (9.36% developed it in the apnea group versus 7.77% in the controls).
It was also found that those who developed pneumonia were mainly older and had more illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
The researchers concluded that sleep apnea appears to be an “independent risk factor for incident pneumonia.