Photo: Habib M’henni / public domain
New research by the Freemason's Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing (FCMHW) at SAHMRI has found a potential link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and a type of fat found in the blood known as triglycerides. OSA is a condition where the airway closes off during sleep and so the lungs cannot oxygenate the blood adequately.
"Obstructive sleep apnea increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular conditions, and depression" Prof Wittert said.
"The results of this study are concerning because the most striking effects were seen in people who were not overweight. OSA is common and does occur in lean people but rarely recognized until the individual's health is severely impaired."
Participants were drawn from the Men Androgens Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress Study (MAILES), a comprehensive assessment of the health of Australian men aged 40 and over.
Of the 753 people involved, half were shown to have moderate to severe OSA, with 75% of men aged 40 or over having some form of the syndrome.
"The key message from this study is that testing for OSA should be considered even in lean men with elevated blood triglycerides concentrations," Prof Wittert said.
Researchers believe continuous positive airway pressure therapy (CPAP) delivered via machine overnight may be beneficial in reducing concentrations of triglycerides and the symptoms of OSA.