New research presented at the 7th World Congress of the World Sleep Federation reveals that sleep apnea increases the risk of accidents and cancer.

Oya Itil, board chair of the Turkish Sleep Medicine Society, said there was a five-times higher incidence of cancer deaths in patients with severe sleep apnea compared to those who do not have the disorder.

Other illnesses related to sleep apnea include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, according to Clete Anthony Kushida, president of the World Sleep Federation.

Obese people, those who use alcohol, and smokers, are much more at risk of developing sleep apnea, Professor Itil said.

Just over 11 percent of men are at risk from sleep apnea, while this rate is 20.2 percent in women, according to research from the Turkish Sleep Medicine Society. “Increasing obesity rates in women are behind this increase,” Itil noted.

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