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Sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for incident pneumonia

Updated: May 10, 2020

According to research published in Canadian Association Journal (CMAJ), people with sleep apnea are at greater risk of developing pneumonia, than people who don’t suffer from this condition. Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic medical condition which is characterized by repeated and frequent breath interruptions during night's sleep caused by the obstruction in the upper airway. To understand whether sleep apnea is related to pneumonia or not, researchers had studied 34 100 patients for 11 years. The result showed that pneumonia was more likely to be diagnosed in patients with sleep apnea. Participants who suffered from pneumonia had more complications such as diabetes, heart diseases, dementia, etc., and were much older. The study has proved that obstructive sleep apnea is a major predictor of incident pneumonia. Also, participants with more severe sleep apnea have been found to be at a greater risk of pneumonia than participants with moderate severity of sleep apnea. Findings allow concluding that pneumonia in patients with sleep apnea could be caused by a high risk of aspirating liquid from the throat during night’s sleep.


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