Sleep apnea connection with kidney infection

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts continually. Overweight people, men and also, people over 40 have a higher risk of suffering from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea connection with kidney infection

Some symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  1. Waking up tired after sleep, no ability to concentrate and having problems with memory
  2. Severe headaches in the morning or at night
  3. Heartburn or sour taste during the night
  4. Legs start swelling
  5. Having the need to get up often during the night to urinate
  6. Chest pain and sweating while sleeping

Normally, throat remains open during sleep, but sleep apnea occurs when muscles in the back of the throat relax, then airways narrow or close. Hence, the oxygen level in blood decreases, which leads to inability to breathe.

Snoring is also one of the symptoms of sleep apnea. However, it begins when breathing resumes. When the breathing stops, the person will gasp or make sudden body movements.

Sleep apnea is caused by some bone deformities or enlarged tissues in one’s nose, throat or mouth. One of the causes can be alcohol because it affects the part of the brain that is in charge of breathing. Obesity can lead to sleep apnea as well. People who are overweight, have more tissue around the neck, it forms pressure on airways, which leads to inability to breathe properly in bed.

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The treatment of sleep apnea usually begins with using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). It is a machine that prevents airway from closing during sleep. CPAP also reduces daytime sleepiness. Other ways of treating sleep apnea are:

  1. Immediately treating breathing problems.
  2. No smoking, no alcohol.
  3. Getting a nice, quality sleep.
  4. Losing weight.
  5. Sleeping on the side. Avoid sleeping on the back with a lot of pillows under the head.

What is kidney infection?

Kidney infection is a type of urinary tract infection that usually starts in urethra or bladder and then continues going up to the kidneys.

Symptoms of kidney infection are:

  1. Back pain, groin pain
  2. Fever or chills
  3. Pain in the stomach
  4. Feeling nauseous
  5. Vomiting
  6. Blood in the urine
  7. Strange-smelling urine
  8. Pain while urinating
  9. Frequent urination

Kidney infection usually happens when bacteria settles in the urinary tract through the urethra. The bacteria start multiplying. Here, it is important to emphasize that in most cases, bacteria that cause urinary tract infections can cause kidney infections too. It is rare for bacteria from the skin or environment to cause kidney infection. Due to complicated female anatomy, women are more like to suffer from kidney infection than men. Kidney infection can also start when the patient’s immune system weakens.

If not treated properly, kidney infections can be a gateway for:

  1. Permanent kidney damage
  2. Septicemia (blood poisoning)
  3. Complications during pregnancy.

Treatment of kidney infection almost always requires the use of antibiotics. Patients suffering from kidney infection have to take antibiotics for at least 7 days. Hospitalization is not necessary and is only required when a person is diagnosed with severe kidney infection. It is important to consult with your doctor first for correct diagnosis and proper medication. That being said, kidney infection can also be treated by drinking plenty of water.

Most kidney infections are acute, which means they are temporary. Chronic kidney infection is extremely rare.

Sleep apnea connection with kidney infection

Researchers have revealed that monitoring people with sleep apnea can help determine whether the person is of higher risk to get kidney infection as well. That especially applies to diabetics. It is a well-known fact that people with diabetes (type 2) also suffer from this .

Dr. Roberto Pisoni led a team of researches of the Medical University of South Carolina, whose primary goal was to prove that sleep apnea is connected with kidney infection, especially if diabetes is involved too. Their research involved 56 people.

The results showed, 61% of those people had sleep apnea, and they had lower level of kidney function than people who didn’t have sleep apnea.

Oreste Marrone, MD, of the Institute of Biomedicine and Molecular Immunology of the National Research Council in Palermo, Italy and his colleagues found that the lowest oxygen saturation level reached during one night can predict kidney infection. It can be predicted through a below-normal estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).

Marrone stated that sleep apnea may not have a major impact on kidney infection, but if a certain patient has significant drops in oxygen saturation, that can cause their kidneys not to function properly.

Oreste Marrone and his team examined 8,112 patients from the European Sleep Apnea Database (ESADA), 8.5% of those patients had an eGFR below 60 ml/min1.73 m2, which is in the range of stage 3 kidney infection.

Even though Pisoni and Marrone could prove that sleep apnea has a role (minor one) on kidney infection, causality of this connection hasn’t been discovered yet.