Three new studies conducted by scientists show how important it is for adults to seek treatment for a sleep illness and aim for a good night sleep in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
One study of 2,240 adults is the first to examine the link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and mortality in Asians. Results show that all-cause mortality risk was 2.5 times higher and cardiovascular mortality risk was more than 4 times higher among people with severe OSA. The results are consistent with previous studies in the U.S. and other countries.
Another study of 2,673 patients in Australia found that untreated OSA is associated with an increased risk of motor vehicle crashes in very sleepy men as well as near-misses in men and women. Participants with untreated OSA reported crashes at a rate three times higher than the general community.
All three of the studies are in the Oct. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, which is published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
The AASM reports that at least 12 to 18 million adults in the U.S. have untreated obstructive sleep apnea, which involves the repetitive collapse of the upper airway during sleep. OSA is a serious sleep illness that is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression and stroke. The most effective treatment option for OSA is CPAP therapy, which helps keep the airway open by providing a stream of air through a mask that is worn during sleep.
Most adults need about seven to eight hours of nightly sleep to feel alert and well rested. However, 30 percent of adults in the U.S. regularly get insufficient sleep.
Help for people who have OSA or another sleep problem is available from board certified sleep medicine physicians at more than 2,500 AASM accredited sleep disorders centers.