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Scientists Find a Potentially Deadly Sleep-Disorder Combo

written by / December 30, 2021
Potentially Deadly Sleep-Disorder Combo

The newest research conducted by Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, shows that individuals with obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia are 50% more likely to die from a heart condition than individuals who don’t have any of these sleep disorders.

Unfortunately, these conditions are widespread, affecting 10% (insomnia) and 30% (sleep apnea or SA) of the population. What’s more, they frequently co-occur in the same individuals. 

Researchers identified the possibly fatal risk of this sleep disorder combo by looking into data collected from over 5,000 Americans diagnosed with co-morbid insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea, a.k.a. COMISA. 

This 15-years-long study followed the health of individuals who were aged about 60 when the study started. The results were quite unsettling, to say the least. 

Namely, COMISA patients were almost twice as likely to suffer from high blood pressure—one of the major risk factors for developing chronic kidney and cardiovascular diseases. They were also 70% more likely than their COMISA-free peers to develop cardiovascular diseases. 

Moreover, even when other contributing factors were eliminated, people with insomnia and sleep apnea were 47% more likely to die of any cause. This just goes to show how serious these sleep disorders are, both separately and in combination. 

Depending on the underlying causes, patients with severe insomnia may benefit from natural sleep aids or seek prescription medication. On the other hand, severe (O)SA patients require the use of top-quality CPAP machines.

These treatments aim to lower blood pressure and increase one’s blood flow, at the same time preventing chronic illnesses.  

This is probably not the only sleep-disorder combo that increases the overall risk of death. More research is still needed to learn more about the side effects of sleep disorders.

Marija Kovachevska is a content writer at, Biochemist and Activist. After obtaining her BSc in Biochemistry and Physiology she changed her microscope for content research tools and continued researching in the fields of Medicine, Biology, and Communication. Her insatiable curiosity flare drove her to become a “content scientist writer” as she likes to say. Reality fascinates her and facts and statistics are a must-have feature in her articles. Fluent in English and French, she is a volunteer and communication associate for several non-profit organizations. French culture and handcrafting are her passion, but in her free time, she indulges in long walks and traveling, or as she likes to say “experiencing the inexperienced.”

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