Sleep apnoea can contribute to cancer, know how to treat it naturally

Sleep apnoea can contribute to cancer, know how to treat it naturally
Sleep apnoea can occur when the upper airway is blocked during sleep, stopping airflow. © Shutterstock

According to a new study, women who suffer from sleep apnoea may have a higher risk of cancer. Read on to know about a few effective and natural remedies to this condition.

Written by Juhi Kumari |Published : August 20, 2019 6:55 PM IST

Do you snore loudly at night? Do you also suffer from morning headaches? If yes, you are probably suffering from sleep apnoea. It is a sleep disorder in which your breathing stops for a short period while you sleep. This causes deficiency of oxygen in the body. Because of this, you may gasp for breath and, sometimes, wake up due to the loud sound of your own snoring.

Symptoms of this condition include gasping for air during sleep, irritability, morning headache, insomnia and a feeling of sleepiness during the daytime. If not treated on time, sleep apnoea can cause fatigue, high blood pressure, metabolic disorders, type 2 diabetes, liver problem, etc. Additionally, this condition can also cause relationship problems by depriving your partner from sleep.

If you are a middle-aged male with a heart disorder, your likelihood of suffering from this disease goes up by notches. Use of narcotic medication and a stroke also make you susceptible to this sleep problem. You may experience mental health issues, poor immune function, heart failure, or/and memory loss if proper measures are not taken on time.

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We earlier mentioned that men are more at risk of developing sleep apnoea. But if you happen to be a woman and you suffer from this condition, your risk of developing cancer is more than your male counterparts, says a recent research published in the European Respiratory Journal. During the study, the scientists collected data of 20,000 patients with sleep apnoea. It was found that around two per cent of these patients were later diagnosed with cancer.

Researchers analysed data based on age, gender, alcohol consumption, body mass index and smoking. Again, there was a strong association between sleep apnoea and higher cancer prevalence. Additionally, the link was stronger in women than men.


Considering the various health problems that come with sleep apnoea, it is extremely important to treat this disorder as soon as possible. But before that, you need to confirm your condition. And for that, you need to visit a sleep specialist. He will perform tests like nocturnal polysomnography. It includes attaching equipment to your body to measure your heart rate, breathing pattern, brain activity, arm and leg movement and level of oxygen in blood when you are sleeping.

If your condition is not too severe, you will have to make certain lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and losing weight. If the problem is due to nasal allergies, you will have to undergo treatment for that allergy. In case, this does not work, you will be recommended other treatment options like continuous positive airway pressure, use of oral appliances, etc. In severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. This may include tissue removal, tissue shrinkage, implants, nerve stimulation and tracheostomy (process of creating a new air passage).

In addition to seeking medical help, you may also try to get relief by following some natural remedies. Here, we tell you about a few simple modifications that can offer relief from this disorder.

Try to maintain a healthy weight

Previously, various studies have proven that obesity can increase your risk of airway obstruction. Excess weight can narrow your nasal passages. This can cause breathing problems and lead to disturbed sleep.

According to a research published in the journal Chest, the prevalence of sleep apnoea is almost twice in obese patients as compared to those who are in good shape. Actually, when you are obese, the fat molecules may be deposited in the tissues surrounding your upper airway. This can cause breathing difficulties and eventually lead to this condition. To maintain good weight, indulge in regular exercise. Also, have healthy foods like green vegetables, fruit juices, etc.

Make yoga a way of life

As we all are aware, yoga is an old exercise technique that basically involves breathing. In yoga, how you breathe is extremely important and the positive effects rely on that. Indulging in yoga on a daily basis can increase your energy level. It can help treat this sleeping disorder and boost your heart health as well. As mentioned earlier, heart problems are one of the reasons behind sleep apnoea. Practicing yoga actually improves strength of your respiratory system and boosts the flow of oxygen.

Adopt the right sleep position

According to a 2006 study published in the journal European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Head & Neck, more than half of sleep apnoea cases are due to wrong sleeping position. Experts in the field say that sleeping on your back can actually make your condition worse. It can block your airway and increase snoring episodes. Try sleeping on your side. It can help you to a certain degree.

Invest in a humidifier

It is a device that is known to add moisture to the air. If your nasal passage is dry, it can cause irritation and can worsen the situation. Use a humidifier to moisten the air and see the result. This can improve your breathing capacity by opening your airways. For best results, you can add essential oils like eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint to your humidifier. These oils are known to have soothing benefits. Also, they have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Don't smoke or drink alcohol

As mentioned earlier, positive lifestyle changes can improve your overall health. This includes your sleeping and breathing patterns. As far as the effect of alcohol is concerned, it actually relaxes the throat muscles that control your breathing. This is what leads to interrupted sleep and snoring. If you drink too much, there are chances that you may develop inflammation in your airways. This can further worsen the condition. Smoking can also contribute to these problems.