We’ve all felt like we aged by a few years after a bad night’s sleep. But suppose you have untreated obstructive sleep apnea or another sleep disorder. According to research, you may be putting your body through accelerated aging.
A study published in Annals of the American Thoracic Society suggests that severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea, especially in patients below the age of 50, can lead to aging. Because of this, the early detection of sleep apnea is imperative to prevent accelerated aging and the problems it brings.
The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and Aging
A recent study found that young patients with untreated obstructive sleep apnea resulted in pathophysiologic changes associated with aging.
This isn’t the first time aging has been researched concerning obstructive sleep apnea. Previous studies have uncovered that sleep apnea can create both cellular and molecular changes connected with the aging process, often impacting younger patients with OSA compared to older patients. The goal of the recent study was to evaluate specific indicators of aging, see how they are tied to obstructive sleep apnea, and determine if the changes are in a particular age group or across a variety of ages.
A group of 599 participants with suspected obstructive sleep apnea was monitored in an observational and prospective study. Patient characteristics were varied, but a large portion of the group was overweight, middle-aged men. Researchers used five markers of aging from previous studies to investigate how sleep apnea and aging are connected.
These five markers of aging include alteration of cellular communication, deregulation of nutrient sensing, telomere attrition, mitochondrial dysfunction, and genomic instability.
Patients with more severe obstructive sleep apnea had a higher association with three of the five markers of aging, including cellular communication, deregulation of nutrient sensing, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Like patients with severe OSA cases, individuals with sleep apnea under the age of 50 were found to have an alteration of intercellular communication, deregulation of nutrient sensing, and genomic instability. For patients over 50 years old, researchers found no significant connection between OSA and markers of aging.
While the study found a link between aging and patients with more severe cases of sleep apnea or those under the age of 50, there were limitations of the study. The demographics of participants were not even; thus, a lack in variety of gender, age, and other factors make it challenging to conclude fully that there is a link. However, researchers believe that early detection of sleep apnea, especially in young patients, can prevent accelerated aging.
Get Tested for Sleep Apnea with ApneaMed
If obstructive sleep apnea is left untreated, it can be damaging to your health. Testing for sleep apnea is more convenient than ever with ApneaMed’s home sleep study that can be self-administered from the comfort of your own home.
The test is delivered directly to your home with instructions on how to administer it yourself. While you sleep, the device monitors and records your blood oxygen levels, blood oxygen saturation, breathing, and heart rates to gather insights that ApneaMed’s board-certified sleep physicians will review.
To treat your obstructive sleep apnea, your sleep specialist will likely recommend the most common form of sleep apnea treatment, AutoPAP therapy. An AutoPAP machine offers both a continuous mode (otherwise known as CPAP) and an auto-adjusting mode, allowing you to determine which feels best for you. The auto-adjusting mode ensures you receive the ideal air pressure throughout the entire night, no matter the sleep stage or position you’re sleeping in.
ApneaMed offers various home sleep tests and in-home breathing equipment to help you treat your obstructive sleep apnea and prevent accelerated aging. Contact our team to learn more.