Participants in the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort who self-identified as having asthma at the start of the research in 1988 had a 41% incident obstructive sleep apnea rate, compared with an obstructive sleep apnea incident rate of 29% among participants who did not report asthma at the beginning of the study, said Mihaela Teodorescu, MD, of the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Of the 205 individuals who reported a history of asthma, 84 developed obstructive sleep apnea during the 8-year interval sleep studies, she reported at the annual meeting of the American Thoracic Society. Of the 1,278 individuals who entered the study without a self-report of asthma, 369 had developed incident obstructive sleep apnea after 8 years.
“There has been a body of evidence published suggesting that there is a relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and asthma,” Teodorescu told MedPage Today. “Each disorder makes the other worse, so understanding what starts this vicious cycle is very important. We asked the question of whether asthma promotes the development of obstructive sleep apnea.”
“In this cohort we found that having asthma at baseline predicted an increased incidence of obstructive sleep apnea 8 years later,” she said. “Overall, having any asthma at baseline predicted about a 72% higher likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea 8 years later.”
“Interestingly, when stratifying by the age of diagnosis, childhood onset of asthma was a higher predictor for development of obstructive sleep apnea, with an odds ratio of about 2.1,” she said in a press briefing following her poster presentation. “For each 5 years increment in duration of asthma, the likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea increased by 12%,” she said.