Impact of Sleep Apnea on Gene Expression

Obstructive sleep apnea is known to be associated with a number of highly serious side effects. Now, a recent study has shed light on a new dimension of its impact – disruption of gene activity during waking hours.

The study looked into the intricate effects of OSA on gene expression, or the process by which an individual gene is activated. Think of gene expression as the “on/off” switch that governs which proteins and molecules are made, and how many are actually produced. The researchers discovered that sleep apnea alters the activity of hundreds of genes responsible for various essential bodily functions, including inflammation, metabolism, and circadian rhythm regulation.

What’s particularly alarming is that these gene activity disruptions persist not only during sleep but throughout the waking hours. This means that the negative impact of OSA extends far beyond the restless nights, impacting our overall health and well-being. The findings also shed light on potential underlying mechanisms linking OSA to chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. And the long-term effects of this can be particularly severe: highly disrupted gene expression is, in its simplest form, another way to describe cancer.

The study’s findings underscore the importance of diagnosing and treating OSA promptly. With its ripple effect on gene activity, OSA is far more than a sleep disorder; it’s a systemic health challenge.

Source: Daylong Gene Activity Disruption: Unveiling the Effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (SciTechDaily)