Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Biochemical Markers Help Detect Sleep Apnea

“If you're not getting good sleep—especially if it's due to sleep apnea, a condition in which you stop breathing for short amounts of time repeatedly throughout the night—your health could be in trouble,” wrote Woman’sDay Health Director, Amy Brightfield, in today’s Daily Dose.

Ms. Brightfield’s concern comes from a new study published by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have higher risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The association between OSA and CVD is uncertain. Some researchers believe the risk might relate to OSA-related stresses contributing to plaque build up on the arteries. The current study indicates that patients’ biochemical profiles may explain their increased risk for CVD.

The study included 537 Cleveland Family Study adults. The researchers controlled for body mass index, age, sex and other conditions.

Thrombosis is a known contributor to cardiovascular disease. The researchers observed the patients’ pro-thrombotic markers. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and fibrinogen were both measured.

Results indicated that these levels increased with breathing problem severity in mild and moderate OSA patients, suggesting that SDB levels increase pro-thrombotic processes.

A third pro-thrombotic marker D-dimer, was observed. No level increases were found.

Increased morning PAI-1 was significantly associated with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) severity in those with mild to moderate SDB, suggesting that morning may be a reflection of overnight SDB-related physiologic stress. Researchers suggest that PAI-1 may be a good biomarker for assessing SDB stress.

They noted that biochemical changes were not evident in severe sleep apnea patients.

The researchers recommend that further studies determine if OSA treatment decreases the markers of thrombosis.

This research was funded by the National Heart Lung Blood Institute.

Image by Chemical Heritage Foundation

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.