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January 14, 2015

Study suggests asthma, sleep apnea connection

Sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease

A new study suggests that two breathing issues, asthma and sleep apnea, may be connected, according to U.S. News and World Report.

The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study revealed that adults with asthma are at an increased risk for obstructive sleep apnea, a nighttime breathing disorder. 

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, over time, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other life-threatening ailments.

The study was comprised of about 550 men and women between the ages of 30 and 60. A little over 15 percent of participants had asthma. 

Participants completed general health questionnaires and an overnight in-laboratory sleep test every four years since the study's launch in 1988. 

According to U.S. News and World Report:

At the very first four-year follow-up, the study authors found that more than a quarter of the asthma patients (27 percent) also had newly developed sleep apnea. This compared with just 16 percent of the non-asthmatic patients.

Over the full study period, the team concluded that asthma patients faced an almost 40 percent greater risk for sleep apnea than asthma-free participants.

While the findings suggest a connection between asthma and sleep apnea, they do not prove a cause-effect relationship.

The findings were published in the Jan. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). 

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