What is the role of inflammation in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2019
  • Author: Mary E Cataletto, MD; Chief Editor: Denise Serebrisky, MD  more...
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Answer

The association of inflammation with obstructive sleep apnea is uncertain.

Markers of systemic inflammation such as interleukin (IL)–6 [16] and C-reactive protein [17, 18, 19] are elevated in obstructive sleep apnea and decrease following adenotonsillectomy, suggesting that the elevation was due to the obstructive sleep apnea.

An increased inflammatory response may be associated with infectious diseases associated with tonsillar and adenoidal hypertrophy; thus, the issue of cause and effect can be difficult to ascertain.


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