I wrote once before about the possible connection between fatty liver—a hallmark symptom of metabolic disorder—and obstructive sleep apnea. Now a new article has reexamined the evidence from a pair of studies, and found the connection compelling as before:
Though it is still somewhat unclear, some doctors suspect that the loss of oxygen from sleep apnea may increase chronic inflammation, which worsens fatty liver. Although fat in the liver can be innocuous at first, as inflammation sets in, the fat turns to scar tissue, and that can lead to liver failure.
This is a correlation and not a controlled result, but the degree of correlation is strong enough for concern. As one doctor in the piece phrased it:
“If you have documented severe sleep apnea episodes during the night, you should be screened,” he said, “because we have enough evidence now from studies showing that one goes hand in hand with the other. And when you reverse one disease, it will probably help the other.”
Obstructive sleep apnea can have many causes, but the most dogged cases typically require a surgical intervention. As a sinus surgeon, I offer several procedures which can help relieve obstructed breathing at night, including septoplasty, nasal polyp removal and others. To get evaluated and see whether you might be a good candidate for relief of this dangerous disorder, start here.