Is Your Thyroid Ruining Your Sleep?


If you don’t already know, a condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) could be affecting your sleep and your health.  It is a condition when the breathing passages become narrowed or obstructed, reducing oxygen to the body and causing snoring.  It is linked to other health conditions, like high blood pressure, heart disease, and metabolic disorders.  But there is one condition that most people don’t think about in the list of causes for OSA – an enlarged thyroid gland, or goiter.

Although the evidence isn’t solid at this point, it is believed that enlargement of the thyroid contributes to OSA by constricting the airways during sleep.  Because the thyroid gland is located in the neck, if it gets enlarged its size can press on the airways causing a narrowing or constricting of the airway, especially when the sufferer is lying down.  During sleep, the muscles in the neck and face relax, allowing the thyroid goiter to push down on the airway.

Based on this premise, the University of Wisconsin evaluated the results from removal or reduction of the thyroid in the treatment of OSA.  The patients with OSA that had the surgery were asked to complete a survey regarding their symptoms before and after the surgery in order to determine if it relieved some of their symptoms.  The results showed a reduction in the number of patients that were at risk for severe OSA (51% versus the original 71%) for the patients that went through the surgical procedure.

Given the fact that OSA is such a complex condition, the information given in this study is one more step in finding a cure and effective treatment for the condition, as well as for non-affecting intermittent snoring.  Let us know what you think of the information given here.