During Sleep Apnea, air flow is completely blocked
Obstructive sleep apnea, or periodic interruptions in breathing throughout the night, thickens sufferers’ blood vessels. Moreover, it increases the risk of several forms of heart and vascular disease.
Emory researchers have identified the enzyme NADPH oxidase as important for the effects obstructive sleep apnea has on blood vessels in the lung.
The results are published in the American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology. C. Michael Hart, professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is senior author.
Obstructive sleep apnea is thought to affect one in every 50 women and one in every 25 men in the United States. Standard treatment involves a mechanical application of air pressure. Anything that blunts sleep apnea’s effects on blood vessel physiology could reduce its impact on disease risk, Hart says.