Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a cause of pain

DScientists from Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto have showed a significant correlation between occurrence of pain and  obstuctive sleep apnea syndrome.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which repetitive pauses in breathing or shallow breathing occur during sleep. The cause of this phenomenon is a collapse of the muscles of the upper respiratory tract. Prevalence of OSA is very common. It is estimated that it may concern even 4% of men and 2% of women. The most significant risk factor of the disorder is obesity. Apnea may also be intensified by intake of alcohol or sleeping pills before sleep.

Repetitive episodes of apnea negatively influence the quality of sleep and wakefulness. During sleep apneas are accompanied by snoring, nocturia and increased perspiration. During the day OSA manifests itself by excessive sleepiness, impaired concentration and memory, falling asleep during monotonous work and even in situation which require full psychomotor agility. OSA is also characterized by the decrease of libido and impotence.

Apnea occur along with hypoxia and hypercapnia which induce neurohumoral response of the organism leading to increase of sympathetic activity and activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. As a result it leads to development of such complications of circulatory system as hypertension and pulmonary hypertension, cardiac dysrhythmia, strokes and heart failure.

The scientists from Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto claim that oxygen deficit occurring during apnea episodes may not only have a negative influence on circulatory system, but also be a cause of significant pain. Researchers described results of their research in Anesthesiology magazine.

The phenomenon was observed on the basis of study conducted with the use of data collected from 634 patients suffering from OSA. The scientists focused only on the patients whose sleep was precisely examined during polysomnography. All participants of the study reported pain. 52,7% of them suffered from morning headaches, in 40,7% of the patients pain was so strong that it disturbed sleep. 31,4% of the participants felt pain in the chest while lying and 85% of the patients did not sleep at night because of overall pain.

Researchers have shown statistically significant correlations between pain and saturation levels. They observed that with the decrease of saturation during the night there was an increase in probability of morning headaches (p = 0,009), headaches interrupting sleep (p = 0,002) and pain in the chest occurring while being in vertical position (p = 0,004). Decrease of saturation from 92 to 72 doubled probability of pain.

The scientists also showed correlation between level of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in collagen alpha-1(IX) chain and pain, especially headaches interrupting sleep (p = 0,018) and whole body pains (p = 0,001).

The scientists unanimously indicate correlation between pain occurrence and  obstructive sleep apnea. They also stress that the cause of the phenomenon is not entirely known.

Written by: Anna Szajerska, Karolina Gasińska, Łukasz Kurasiewicz

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4. http://schlafapnoe-mainz.de/pdf/sk12-13.pdf
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Would you like to know more? Watch on MEDtube.net:  Obstructive sleep apnea

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