Increased physical activity may reduce the risk of sleep apnea: study

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Washington DC: Increased physical activity is associated with a decreased risk of obstructive sleep apnea – a common sleep-related breathing disorder.
A recent study was published as an accepted paper in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. This is the largest study focused on the relationship between sleep apnea and physical activity levels in the general community.
Researchers reviewed lifestyle, medical, socio-demographic and sleep health data collected from more than 155,000 adults participating in the Ontario Health Study. Based on physical activity of participants with and without sleep apnea, investigators determined that a slight increase in physical activity, including walking, is associated with a 10 percent decrease in the risk of developing sleep apnea.
“Our results highlight the importance of physical activity as a preventive measure against developing sleep apnea. A surprising finding was that not only vigorous physical activity, but also walking alone was associated with a reduced risk of sleep apnea, “Said senior author Lyle Palmer. Who is a professor of genetic epidemiology at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
The authors found that adding 20 minutes of daily walking and vigorous daily activity for eight minutes would be sufficient to achieve low sleep apnea risk. This sleep is independent of sleep apnea such as sex, age, ethnicity, and other known risk factors for obesity.
It is estimated that over 29 million American adults have sleep apnea, many of them undiagnosed. Untreated sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and other potentially serious conditions.
“Sleep apnea rates continue to increase in children and adults. Therefore, it is important to understand the role of variable protective factors for sleep apnea. Exercise is one such protective factor and has many other positive effects on general health. Sleep health care professionals Palmer said his patients should try to exercise more.
The cross-sectional, population-based study analyzed baseline questionnaire data from 155,448 adult residents (60 percent women and 40 percent men) of Ontario, Canada. Their average age was 46, and about 75 percent were white.
About 6.9 percent of the participants were told by a doctor that they had sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea were more sedentary, sitting in the middle of 4.4 more hours per week than those without sleep apnea.
Due to the cross-sectional nature of the study, the authors were unable to make a temporal estimate on the associations observed between physical activity and sleep apnea. However, they report that previous studies have also suggested that physical activity may reduce the severity of sleep apnea.
In a related commentary, also published as an accepted paper in JCSM, Drs. Joyce Lee-Iannotti and Drs. James Parish writes that the study’s findings give sleep practitioners another tool to treat mild to moderate sleep apnea that may be more healthy for patients.

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