Author(s): Stansbury RC, Strollo PJ
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Abstract Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may manifest in a number of ways from subtle intrusion into daily life to profound sleepiness, snoring, witnessed apneas and other classic symptoms. Although there is increasing evidence suggesting OSA can adversely affect health in a variety of ways, this disorder remains underdiagnosed. The most well-escribed health consequences of OSA relate to the cardiovascular system. Hypertension and arrhythmias have a strong association with OSA, and evidence suggests that treatment of OSA in patients with refractory hypertension and in patients planning cardioversion for atrial fibrillation may be of particularly importance. Significant associations between heart failure and OSA as well as complex sleep apnea have also been well-described. Cerebrovascular insult, impaired neurocognition, and poorly controlled mood disorder are also associated with in OSA. Therapy for OSA may ameliorate atherosclerotic progression and improve outcomes post-cerebrovascular accident (CVA). OSA should be considered in patients complaining of poor concentration at work, actual or near-miss motor vehicle accidents, and patients with severe sleepiness as a component of their co-morbid mood disorders. The metabolic impact of OSA has also been studied, particularly in relation to glucose homeostasis. Also of interest is the potential impact OSA has on lipid metabolism. The adverse effect untreated OSA has on glucose tolerance and lipid levels has led to the suggestion that OSA is yet another constituent of the metabolic syndrome. Some of these metabolic derangements may be related to the adverse effects untreated OSA has on hepatic health. The cardiovascular, neurocognitive, and metabolic manifestations of OSA can have a significant impact on patient health and quality of life. In many instances, evidence exists that therapy not only improves outcomes in general, but also modifies the severity of co-morbid disease. To mitigate the long-term sequela of this disease, providers should be aware of the subtle manifestations of OSA and order appropriate testing as necessary.
This article was published in J Thorac Dis
and referenced in General Medicine: Open Access