Researchers realized that to identify these risk factors, they had to utilize better data than previous studies. While previous studies had looked primarily at the apnea/hypopnea index (AHI, a measure of how many times breathing stops per hour), new data about additional impacts of sleep apnea, such as oxygen saturation levels, and duration of apneic events allowed a more complete portrait of sleep apnea.
In addition, researchers had good genetic information from diverse populations in three recent data collections: the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis, and the Starr County Health Study. These studies had genetic information and detailed sleep studies from over 12,000.
Researchers identified two key genetic areas that were significantly linked with sleep apnea risk , and seven other regions that might be significant but couldn’t be linked with certainty. It’s important that these regions were actually not linked to obesity at all, but were linked to a different mechanism that might close or restrict your airway: inflammation. If your body tissues are more likely to swell significant in response to irritation, it might make you more prone to sleep apnea, especially during seasons when allergens are prevalent.
Even if You’re Not Obese, Get Screened for Sleep Apnea
Although obesity is an important risk factor for sleep apnea, it’s important to get screened for the condition even though you aren’t obese. Instead, look for the warning signs of sleep apnea :
- Heavy snoring
- Daytime sleepiness
- Chronic fatigue
- Reduced interest
- Mood changes
- Memory problems
Because sleep apnea is a serious health condition, it’s best to get screening for it as soon as you suspect you may have it.
To learn more about diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea, please call (918) 528-3330 for an appointment with a Tulsa sleep dentist at élan by Dr. Meghan Hodges.