Do you sleep like a baby every night?

I saw a headline today about sleep apnea potentially being an autoimmune disease. It piqued my interest and caused me to dig deep into the test results to see more.

However, after reading conclusions from several sources the results are not conclusive enough to say with certainty that sleep apnea can be classified with other autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The Study Certain cytokines are present when autoimmune diseases are diagnosed. This study identified four inflammatory cytokines that were expected to show that sleep apnea could be classified as an autoimmune disease. Previous studies have not connected sleep apnea with autoimmune disorders.

Inflammatory Cytokines Cytokines are immune responses that signal the body to create and move cells to the site of inflammation, infection, or trauma. There are many types of cytokines.

Lately, many news stories refer to the cytokine storms created by the COVID-19 virus adding to severe complications in some patients. Cytokines are present in extremely small quantities until something happens, then they explode – or ‘storm’.

Study Cytokines

APRIL, CD30, IFN-Alpha-2, and IL-2 are the four inflammatory cytokines that were chosen to relate sleep apnea to the general category of autoimmune disorder.

APRIL ( is a proliferation-inducing ligand found in many cancer or tumor cells.

CD-30 ( is similar to APRIL in that both are part of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily. However, CD-30 is more prevalent in blood disorders.

IFN-Alpha-2 ( is a human interferon cytokine associated more with viral infections.

IL-2 ( is produced by our immune system T cells. The FDA has approved its use for cancer immunotherapy.

Study Details is a link to the real nitty-gritty about what was expected and what happened. The study consisted of 46 people divided into three groups, a control group of participants without sleep apnea, sleep apnea participants being treated with CPAP machines, and sleep apnea participants being treated with mouthguards.

The expectation was that cytokine levels would be higher in the sleep apnea groups. However, the results did not demonstrate a difference in cytokine levels (regardless of type) to report that sleep apnea is closely related to autoimmune disorders.

Sleep Apnea Snoring is one thing – sleep apnea is another. Obstructive sleep apnea requires medical attention. High blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, weight gain, adult asthma, acid reflux, and even car accidents can become issues when sleep apnea is untreated.

Some doctors recommend a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to be used when sleeping. Mouthguards, nerve stimulators, and even surgery might be discussed as a potential solution.

It is difficult for us to determine if we wake up during our sleep cycles because our breathing is interrupted. However, snoring is a symptom. So is daytime sleepiness or fatigue, dry mouth when you awaken, morning headaches, morning sore throat, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and more.
Consult your physician if you believe there might be a problem getting good quality sleep.


Nearly 40,000 people die annually with cardiovascular issues brought on by sleep apnea according to the American Sleep Apnea Association ( It is a serious health concern.

This study did not establish a link or correlation between sleep apnea and autoimmune disorders.

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –



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