Liver Disease and The Growing Incidence of Sleep Apnea

It's quite fascinating from my vantage point as a doctor and a conduit for health news to read and review so many medical studies and discover just how interrelated many of them truly are. Case in point is new research that has found those who suffer from sleep apnea may be directly at risk for liver problems.

Not at all surprising, considering previous research identified diabetes -- one of the common signposts of the obesity epidemic -- as a cause of chronic liver disease and cancer of the liver. (In fact, the incidence of chronic liver disease and cancer of the liver among diabetes patients was about twice that of patients without it.)

It didn't take long to make that connection after studying more than 150 patients with fatty livers -- a clear sign of trouble -- to determine how many of them have sleep apnea. Fifty-two percent suffered from moderate sleep apnea and 27 percent had a severe obstructive variant of sleep apnea. Moreover, patients with severe sleep apena were more insulin-resistant and likely had liver damage, in comparison to people of the same weight who didn't have sleep apena.

Although doctors cautioned not to make an association between obesity, diabetes, sleep apena and liver damage, it's certainly hard to ignore the obvious implications and how all of these variables can work together effortlessly to ruin your health and shorten your life. Fortunately, if you want to optimize your health and weight naturally, you've certainly come to the right place to do it.

Here's a few suggestions on how to get started:

BBC News May 27, 2005

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