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Sleep deprivation can lead to numerous health risks. Not only is it dangerous for an individual to drive while drowsy, it can also be unsafe for the person to operate any type of machinery. While many people may experience a bad night’s sleep, for some, the perpetual state of drowsiness may be a sign of something more serious, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In fact, recent research is also linking OSA to the development of cancer for men under 65.

Spanish researchers have recently revealed the results of their studies regarding the link between OSA and melanoma cancer. The findings were published in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. At this time, the study has only focused on men, but that doesn’t mean that the results couldn’t also include women. Further studies on both groups will be expanded and continued.

Obstructive sleep apnea can cause an individual to momentarily stop breathing while he or she is asleep. The result is an inadequacy of oxygen reaching the body’s tissues. One of the primary signs of the possibility of OSA is snoring.

During the research studies, animals who were subjected to hypoxia developed tumors twice as quickly as other subjects who did not experience hypoxia.

With serious health risks such as this, it is important for patients to discuss symptoms — like being tired all the time — with their physician. It is important for doctors to take these concerns seriously and take appropriate actions. A failure to diagnose conditions such as OSA can lead to subsequent health problems in patients or even dangerous driving or working behaviors.

Source: Health 24, “Obstructive sleep apnoea linked to cancer,” Nov. 22, 2012