chronic kidney disease

A new study has reported that sleep apnea poses similar threat as hypertension for the development of chronic kidney disease


Sleep apnea is a common disorder where one or more pauses in breathing during sleep occurs, resulting in sleep fragmentation and a reduction in the level of oxygen reaching body tissues. There is a growing amount of evidence indicating that sleep apnea appears to be correlated with chronic kidney disease. Well-known risk factors for chronic kidney disease include hypertension and diabetes, but recent evidence suggests that sleep apnea could be another factor associated with the disease.

The study investigated the risk of chronic kidney failure development following a sleep apnea diagnosis and compared the contribution of sleep apnea to chronic kidney disease relative to well-established causes like hypertension.

The researchers identified 8,687 patients with sleep apnea between 2000 and 2010 and another 34,747 individuals without sleep apnea. Each sleep apnea patient was matched with four individuals without sleep apnea by age, sex and income, serving as controls to allow for reliable data comparison. Data for this study was collected from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance databases.

The results revealed that the risk of developing chronic kidney disease was 1.58 times greater in patients diagnosed with sleep apnea relative to individuals without sleep apnea, demonstrating clinically significant results. The risk of chronic kidney disease development was 1.64 times greater in individuals with hypertension, demonstrating that sleep apnea should be seen as a risk factor equivalent to hypertension. Possible explanations for the association between sleep apnea and chronic kidney disease are that the interrupted breathing from sleep apnea results in reduced renal oxygen and blood flow, increased oxidative stress and endothelial injury, which can all lead to kidney damage.



Chu H, Shih CJ, Ou SM, Chou KT, Lo YH, Chen YT. “Association of sleep apnoea with chronic kidney disease in a large cohort from Taiwan” Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, 1-7, January 2016.






Written by Mariana Nikolova, BSc

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