Study suggests that sleep apnea may worsen Parkinson's disease

A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests that sleep apnea may worsen the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Sleep apnea is a common disorder in Parkinson’s patients and is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto, followed 80 early-stage Parkinson’s patients for a period of two years. The participants were evaluated for Parkinson’s symptoms and the presence of sleep apnea.

The results showed that patients with sleep apnea had a faster progression of Parkinson’s disease compared to patients without sleep apnea. Additionally, patients with sleep apnea also had a significant decline in quality of life.

According to the study’s lead author, Dr. Ron Postuma, the results suggest that treating sleep apnea may help slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease in patients with the condition.

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects approximately 22 million people in the United States, and is more common in older people and in patients with chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s. Additionally, sleep apnea is also associated with an increased risk of other conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Treatments for sleep apnea include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which is the standard treatment for the condition, and lifestyle changes such as weight loss and regular physical activity.

Although more research is needed to confirm the association between sleep apnea and Parkinson’s disease progression, the results of this study highlight the importance of early detection and treatment of sleep apnea in Parkinson’s patients.


  • Postuma, R. B., et al. (2021). Association between obstructive sleep apnea and disease progression in patients with early Parkinson’s disease. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 17(3), 539-547.
  • American Sleep Apnea Association. (2021). Sleep Apnea Information for Clinicians. Accessed on April 26, 2023, at
  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2021). What Is Sleep Apnea? Accessed on April 26, 2023, at

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