A good night’s sleep can do wonders to your health but most of the times we ignore to give due importance to this daily routine in life. Sleep disordered breathing (SDB) is a group of physiopathologic conditions that are characterized by an abnormal respiratory pattern during sleep that can be isolated or can coexist with other respiratory, nervous, cardiovascular or endocrine diseases. Snoring is present across all individuals with SDB but it is required to know that not all who snore have SDB. Most common conditions included in SDB include obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), central sleep apnea and OSA syndrome.
Hearing your mom, dad, sibling or spouse snore is annoying and you feel like just exiting the bedroom and sleeping on your couch. Besides being troublesome to the person who sleeps behind the one who snores, this action also brings upon great trouble for the person who snores too. While SDB increases oxidative stress levels, inflammation and several age-related health disorders there haven’t been much studies on its effects on epigenetic ageing. A new study published in the reputed journal SLEEP shows that SDB accelerates ageing process in individuals. We all have two different ages-biological and chronological age. While chronological age refers to the actual age of the person since his/her time of birth, biological age determines an individual’s true state of health based on his/her physical and mental well-being. Read more about chronological age and biological age by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. Leaving SDB untreated leads to physiological effects on the individual increasing the biological age.
The study included 622 participants (average age of participants was 69 years and 53% were women) who were measured for blood DNA methylation- a marker for epigenetic age acceleration (this includes measuring a person’s biological age based on changes in DNA methylation at particular locations in the genome) and had their sleep evaluated at home by polysomnography by using blood samples. Age acceleration measures were calculated as residuals from regression of each epigenetic age on chronological age. Every SDB trait with age acceleration was measured using linear regression by controlling health behaviors, BMI and study site. Every SD increase in the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) which is a measure of SDB severity is associated with the equivalent of 215 days of biological age acceleration. Also, each SD increase in arousal index (a measure for sleep disruption) was associated with the equivalent of 321 days of age acceleration. The association was stronger in women compared to men despite the fact that women suffer from less severe SDB.
Usually, a person’s biological and chronological age might not be the same and individuals whose biological age is higher than chronological age experience faster ageing. But epigenetic ageing is reversible and epigenetic age estimators might be useful in identifying and validating anti-ageing interventions. SDB is common, its treatable but the only concern is that it remains undiagnosed and under-treated. It’s a condition that affects every single organ in the body sometimes. It is as common and dangerous as diabetes but sadly, not many people know about the consequences of sleep apnea much. This study is surely useful as it brings about the risky effects of untreated SDB and also creates an impact on individuals who are sure to abide by the treatment protocols once they realize that it affects their ageing process.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.