Common obstructive sleep apnea in major Sjogren’s syndrome

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which occurs when breathing is slowed down or repeatedly interrupted for short periods of time while sleeping, is common in people with primary Sjogren’s syndrome, one study found.

Because OSA has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, fatigue, and other medical issues, doctors should monitor all people with primary Sjogren’s syndrome for the presence of OSA, the researchers wrote.

The study “The Incidence of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Patients with Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome” was published in Sleep and Breathing.

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OSA occurs when all or part of the upper airways are blocked during sleep, resulting in snoring, pauses in breathing, and nocturnal desaturation (a temporary decrease in the amount of oxygen in the blood). It can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue, mood swings, and cardiovascular disease.

There is evidence that OSA is common in people with autoimmune diseases, and one study found that people with Sjogren’s disease are more than twice as likely to develop OSA than people without autoimmune diseases.

However, more studies are needed to determine how common it actually is in patients with Sjogren’s syndrome and what factors contribute to the risk of OSA in these patients.

To address this, a team of researchers in Turkey examined retrospective data on 44 patients with primary Sjogren’s syndrome who underwent polysomnography (PSG) between April 2019 and December 2020.

A PSG is a form of nocturnal study that examines a person’s sleep such as duration, efficiency, and stages of sleep while monitoring electrical activity in the brain, the amount of oxygen in the blood, rate and breathing, and leg and eye movements.

The patients included 42 women and two men with a mean age of 56 years. A group of 88 women who also underwent PSG but did not have Sjogren’s disease were included as controls.

The patients included symptoms suggestive of OSA, excessive daytime sleepiness (seen in 75% of patients), observed apnea (interrupted breathing during sleep; 61%), and snoring (30%). A diagnosis was confirmed in 37 (84%) of them, with the majority having moderate OSA (43%).

“This high rate indicates the presence of OSA in patients with pSS. is substantial [primary Sjögren’s syndrome] and requires , ”wrote the researchers.

Compared to patients without OSA, those with the sleep were significantly older and more prone to overweight or obesity, which is consistent with the known associations between older age and obesity in OSA. However, lung function measurements and lung imaging were not associated with OSA.

In the controls, the percentage of OSA diagnosis was 77%, which was not significantly different from the patients. However, patients with OSA experienced fewer and episodes of snoring and witnessing apnea than controls with OSA.

“These results suggest that observed apneas and snoring may not be sufficient to predict the presence of OSA in pSS,” the researchers wrote. “For this reason, we recommend that patients with pSS without snoring and observed apnea are also examined for the presence of OSA with PSG.”

The percentage of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep (a part of sleep that typically includes more vivid dreams, which is important for learning and memory consolidation), time with reduced airflow, and maximum apnea were also significant in the patients lower.

As a limitation of the study, the researchers noted that the control group may not fully reflect the healthy population and that such a group may be difficult to identify, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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