Many people suffer from something known as sleep apnea. It is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts back up again throughout the night, thus causing many of those with it to snore quite loudly.

There are three main types of sleep apnea those types being; obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Symptoms of these can range from loud snoring as mentioned above to irritability and everything in-between. While a lot of people do not think snoring could mean anything serious a lot of the time it does and now it seems, even more-so.

Sleep apnea, in general, affects an estimated 22 million people and a lot of the time people go undiagnosed. Scientists at the University of Indiana recently found something quite alarming about those who snore loudly (basically most people with sleep apnea). They have significantly thinner skulls. I know this is going to sound a bit odd but stay with me.

Their study was published just a few days ago on May 3rd in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. For this study researchers scanned the skulls of 114 people aged between 40 and 60. About 56 of these people had what was considered to be moderate to severe sleep apnea. They noted that because of the significant up to 1.23mm thinner skull difference to be quite important. This being as a thinning of 1mm could be more than enough to cause sCSF-L.

For those who do not know, sCSF-L or ‘spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leak’ is a medical condition in which the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain itself and spinal cord manages to literally leak out of the protective dural sac for seemingly no reason. Treatment for this can either be surgical or medical depending on the severity. It can be a very serious issue.

The study lists their findings in the key points of their published work as follows:

“In this cohort study, obstructive sleep apnea was independently associated with calvarial and skull base thinning compared with obese, age-matched patients without obstructive sleep apnea. The patients with obstructive sleep apnea had a higher rate of tegmen dehiscence than those without obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea may mechanistically contribute to the development of disorders related to skull thinning such as spontaneous cerebrospinal fluid leaks.”

This is something you should seriously pay attention to if you have sleep apnea of any kind, not just obstructive sleep apnea. Please, pay attention to your health. If you notice any of the signs of cSCF-L; clear watery drainage from one side of the nose or ear, headaches, vision changes, or hearing loss get yourself checked out. Your health is very important.

(Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash)

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