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Relativity of Endocrine Disorders with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Did you know that there is a strong association between Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and endocrine disorders? The endocrine system is responsible for producing hormones secreted and sent out through the body’s bloodstream. These hormones, or chemical signals, help our bodies regulate several processes such as growth, fluid balance, virilization, feminization, breathing, weight control, and appetite, among others. However, when the endocrine system fails, it can have a variety of adverse effects on health, including OSA.

What are the most common endocrine disorders?

Acromegaly and hypothyroidism are just two of the most common endocrine disorders that commonly catalyze OSA. Notably, when diagnosed and treated as early as possible, there is a high chance of better patient outcomes. But first, let us define these two conditions:

Acromegaly 

Acromegaly is a rare endocrine disorder usually caused by a benign tumor in the body’s pituitary gland. This condition refers to the excessive secretion of the growth hormone, which ultimately leads to the excessive growth of bone, cartilages, and soft tissues. According to medical statistics, 80% of patients with acromegaly eventually develop OSA in the long run. Why? They acquire the condition because the excess growth of bone, cartilages, and soft tissue cause obstruction in the upper airways. Aside from OSA, acromegaly also increases the possibility of developing cardiovascular diseases.

The common symptoms of acromegaly are fatigue, vision changes, excessive hunger or thirst, nausea, vomiting, and unexplained weight gain or sudden weight loss.

Hypothyroidism

In contrast with acromegaly, hypothyroidism is a common condition. It has clinical features that overlap those of OSA, such as weight gain, lethargy, and excessive sleepiness. However, this condition can also be tricky as it can be symptomless. The patient would only experience mild signs such as constipation, cold intolerance, fatigue, slowed heart rate, swollen face, and unexplained weight gain, among others.

Notably, about 35% of patients with this condition develop OSA due to the infiltration of soft tissues, which ultimately narrows the pharynx. Typically, medical professionals cure OSA using hypothyroidism’s hormone replacement therapy.

In both conditions, early diagnosis, treatment, and prompt management are all vital to reverse the adverse effects on health. For instance, if not detected right away in acromegaly, the patient might be required to undergo surgical correction in the upper airway to relieve OSA’s symptoms. Furthermore, they might need to have continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) regularly.

For hypothyroidism, the standard treatment involves the daily use of oral medication such as “synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine.” Notably, this medicine reverses the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and restores the body’s adequate hormone levels.

OSA is a serious condition. So, it is vital to know the conditions that can catalyze this sleeping problem. It is not a secret that lack of sleep can be detrimental to our health. As medical professionals often remind, early diagnosis can help a lot in the treatment process. If you want to know more about everything related to sleep, perhaps you may want to visit us at https://unitedsleepapnea.com/about-us.

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