Sleep apnoea lowers blood oxygen levels and is already connected with obesity, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes
Hundreds of thousands in the UK suffer from sleep apnoea, characteristically linked with snoring , which lowers blood oxygen levels.
Now scientists have found evidence that starving the body of oxygen can trigger the development of tumours by promoting the growth of blood vessels that feed them.
Sleep apnoea, in which the walls of the throat relax and block the airways, is already associated with obesity , diabetes , high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.
US and Spanish researchers subjected mice with kidney cancer to reduced oxygen.
They found this released cells within the tumours which can mature to form blood vessels, helping them to grow.Snoring isn’t just annoying – it could be bad for your health
Dr Antoni Vilaseca, of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, told a conference in Munich: “This indicates that conditions which restrict oxygen may promote cancer.”
A report suggested the findings may explain “how a bad night’s sleep might worsen cancer development”.
Read more: Is the size of your tongue the reason you can’t get a good night’s sleep?
The results may also explain why patients who exercise and get oxygen pumping through their blood may be more likely to beat cancer.