In a new study, researchers found that breathing problems caused by sleep disorders are linked to fast aging or age acceleration.
The research was conducted by a team from Harvard University.
Sleep-disordered breathing, such as obstructive sleep apnea, is defined as abnormal respiration during sleep.
It can result in reductions in blood oxygen saturation and are usually terminated by brief arousals from sleep.
It is estimated that almost 30 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea. Common warning signs of the disorder include snoring and daytime sleepiness.
Sleep-disordered breathing is not only common and treatable but often undiagnosed and under-treated.
In the study, the team tested 622 adults with a mean age of 69 years.
Participants were measured for blood DNA methylation, and their sleep was evaluated at home. Age acceleration is a DNA methylation-based marker of fast biological aging.
The team found that more severe sleep-disordered breathing problems were linked to more days of age acceleration.
In addition, sleep disruption was linked to age acceleration as much as breathing problems.
The findings show that sleep disorders and disruptions may harm people’s health by increasing the aging rate.
The team also found that the links were stronger in women than in men. This means that women may be much more vulnerable to the harmful effects of sleep-disordered breathing.
Future work needs to find out whether treatment for sleep-disordered breathing could help slow down aging.
The lead author of the study is Xiaoyu Li, Sc.D., a postdoctoral research fellow.
The study is published in Sleep. The paper title is ‘Sleep Disordered Breathing Associated with Epigenetic Age Acceleration: Evidence from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis’.
Copyright © 2019 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.