Don’t Go Breaking My Heart: The Dangers of Organ Inflammation Caused by Sleep Apnea

Organ inflammation is one of the many health issues that can arise from untreated sleep apnea. To learn more about how OSA causes organ inflammation, read this blog.

Organ inflammation is one of the many health complications that can result from untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). When you think of inflammation, you often associate it with joint inflammation like arthritis. But inflammation can occur throughout your body and affect many organs. Although OSA seems like a scary disease, it is important to remember that it is a treatable disorder, and that OSA-related organ inflammation is not always a permanent issue.

Dr. David Gozal (University Of Missouri School of Medicine) and Dr. Leila Kheirandish-Gozal (MU School of Medicine’s Child Health Research Institute) conducted an experiment in 2019 in which they analyzed previous research on OSA and organ inflammation. They also studied how specific “pro-inflammatory cytokines” affect cells so that they could better understand how cytokines affect inflammation. “Cytokines” are cell signaling molecules that help cells communicate in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells towards sites of inflammation, infection and trauma.

The evidence they collected demonstrates that sleep-disordered breathing in general, and more particularly sleep apnea, should be viewed as “low-grade chronic inflammatory diseases.” In addition, the results of the study concluded that OSA actually promotes persistent inflammation.

Why should you be concerned about organ inflammation?

Organ inflammation can lead to complications such as: memory loss, mood and behavioral changes, cardiovascular function, and changes in metabolism, as well as a host of related conditions including “chronic kidney disease, erectile dysfunction, eye disease and cancer.” Healthy organs ensure a more healthy you, so Ognomy encourages you to do your best to treat sleep disorders and organ inflammation sooner rather than later.

What if I already have organ inflammation due to untreated OSA?

The good news is that studies have shown how organ inflammation can decrease with proper sleep apnea treatment. A study conducted in 2013 analyzed past research on the changes in organ inflammation with the use of continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) treatment. Their findings showed that “those with CPAP treatment have lower levels of systemic inflammatory markers.” Overall, the findings suggested that OSA treatment reduced cardiovascular risk profiles “including inflammation.” Therefore, once you start treatment, you may begin to see improvements in the severity of your OSA-related organ inflammation.

What now?

You can treat your sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, with Ognomy’s telemedicine services today, including video calls, home-based testing and treatment. Click here to learn more in our FAQ, or register as a patient online to begin your journey to better rest and improved health.