Researchers looked at 8,600 people (average age 50) from 17 European countries and Israel who had sleep apnea but had not been diagnosed with dyslipidemia at the start of the study. They found that severity of sleep apnea was a strong independent predictor of elevated total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides as well as low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, even after the data were adjusted for factors such as age, body weight, and other medical conditions.
It’s well known that people with sleep apnea, which repeatedly interrupts sleep by causing temporary blockage of breathing passageways, are at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes, but this has largely been attributed to increases in blood pressure.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see 5 Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea.