FRIDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Surgery to remove all or
part of an enlarged thyroid gland, known as a thyroidectomy,
appears to reduce snoring and other symptoms of obstructive sleep
apnea, according to a new study.
Researchers compared symptoms in patients with obstructive sleep
apnea before and eight weeks after they had a thyroidectomy.
Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include snoring, disrupted
breathing during sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness.
After surgery, symptom scores improved dramatically and far
fewer of the patients (51 percent versus 71 percent) were
considered to be at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea.
"Obstructive sleep apnea is obviously a complex problem with numerous causes, but we find it encouraging that thyroidectomy alone can provide significant improvements in nearly a third of patients, regardless of gland size," study author Dr. Rebecca Sippel, chief of the Section of Endocrine Surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said in a news release from the American Thyroid Association.
Based on their findings, the researchers suggested that doctors
check for an enlarged thyroid when evaluating patients with sleep
Obstructive sleep apnea, in which a person's airway becomes
narrowed or blocked while sleeping, affects about 20 percent of the
population and can increase a person's risk of death if left
untreated, according to background information in the news
The study was slated for presentation Friday at the annual
meeting of the American Thyroid Association in California. Research
presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about