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Problems Tied to Obesity Also Seem to Affect Sleep
Date:1/23/2009

Studies find three separate links with sleep apnea,,

FRIDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Three conditions often linked to obesity have also been tied independently to sleep apnea, new studies show.

Insulin resistance, the progression of liver disease, and living a less-than-active life were all found to be associated with the common breathing disorder, regardless of people's weight, according to reports published in the February issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

A John Hopkins University study found a strong tie between insulin resistance -- the body's inability to metabolize glucose -- and sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), pauses or other abnormalities in breathing while sleeping.

"What our research tells us is that SDB is characterized by multiple physiological deficits that increase the predisposition for type 2 diabetes mellitus," study leader Dr. Naresh Punjabi, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in an American Thoracic Society news release.

Another Hopkins study found that obese people with chronic intermittent hypoxia, the lack of oxygen that occurs during obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), showed liver issues in proportion to the severity of the sleep disorder.

"We hypothesize that severe obesity, per se, acts as a first hit in the progression of liver disease, inducing hepatic steatosis, whereas the presence of the chronic intermittent hypoxemia that often characterizes OSA acts as a second hit," lead researcher Dr. Vsevolod Y. Polotsky, of the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center, said in the same news release. "The hypoxic stress of OSA may induce oxidative stress in the livers of patients with severe obesity, leading to further inflammation."

Enzyme levels and other findings, though, suggest that obesity and sleep apnea are not completely tied to each
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