Researchers have found a link betweenasthma and sleep apnea. Study findingsindicate that treating the sleep disordermay help patients control their asthma."[For] a lot of folks that we otherwise wouldhave said this is a separate problem, weare now realizing there is a connection,"said researcher William Bria, MD.
For the study, 115 patients with asthmawho were not doing well on regular medicationcompleted questionnaires. Theearly data showed that 49% of women and33% of men were at risk for sleep apnea.Of the participants, 55% reported excessivedaytime sleepiness, a symptom ofsleep apnea. "This tells us that a lot morepeople with asthma need to have sleepstudies,"noted Dr. Bria. "When patients arehaving problems with asthma, their doctorsneed to look at more than whether they aretaking enough puffs from their inhalers."
Oftentimes, sleep apnea is treated witha device that provides continuous positiveairway pressure. The research team is currentlyconducting a study to determinewhether patients with persistent asthmasee a difference with treatment from thedevice.