A number of studies have suggested that sleep-disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea, increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. But so far, no studies have quantified that risk over time. With this study, researchers sought to learn more about the effect of sleep-related breathing problems on cardiovascular disease.
The Sleep Heart Health Study took place at 10 centers across the country. It began with 6,440 people age 40 or older who underwent a home sleep study. Approximately 4,000 of these people had a second home sleep study. Researchers have examined if the participants had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Scientists at the Arizona Respiratory Center have studied more than 900 participants in the study.
Because a relatively large number of adults have sleep-disordered breathing, the results of this study may offer doctors a new and powerful way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by treating sleep-disordered breathing.