New studies link OSA to liver damage, asthma

Sunday, May 29, 2005

YARMOUTH, Maine -- With obstructive sleep apnea gaining more prominence as a serious and treatable medical condition, studies about the disorder continue to rise to the forefront.

Last week, a spate of research came out linking sleep apnea to liver damage, asthma and lousy sex lives.


CPAP therapy may improve sex lives

Patients who are treated for their sleep apnea may see an improvement in their sex lives, according to a study presented at the American Thoracic Society's annual meeting.

"It could be that they are less tired once the sleep apnea is being treated," said Dr. Terri E. Weaver, associate professor and chairwoman of the biobehavioral and health sciences division at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sleep apnea patients who were treated with CPAP for six hours each night had a reduction in daytime sleepiness and fatigue and an increase in intimacy and sexuality, researchers report.


Sever sleep apnea may damage liver

Severe OSA appears to be a risk factor for liver damage, regardless of whether or not a patient is obese, a French study in the medical journal Hepatology reports.

The report hypothesized that insulin resistance related to OSA, as well as direct lack of oxygen to the liver, could possibly be the reason for liver disease associated with OSA.

Researchers evaluated 163 patients with either severe, moderate or no evidence of OSA. Liver tests of those patients revealed that 32% of severe cases, 18% of moderate cases, and 8.6% of people with no evidence of OSA had abnormal results. Biopsies confirmed the presence of liver disease in a higher percentage of patients with severe OSA compared with the other groups regardless of the patient's weight.

Based on these findings, the authors recommend testing for OSA in patients with liver disease that can't be attributed to some other cause.


Researchers Find Possible Correlation Between Asthma and Sleep Apnea

Researchers at the University of Michigan discovered that many people with asthma suffer from nighttime breathing disorders like sleep apnea and that treating that condition could help control their asthma.

Researchers in the study now believe that both conditions are related to the body's inflammatory response.

After surveying 115 people, the preliminary results found 49% of women and 33% of men were at risk for sleep apnea.

"This tells us that a lot more people with asthma need to have sleep studies," said Dr. William Bria, medical co-director of the University of Michigan's asthma airways program.