How does obstructive sleep apnoea affect your health?

Dr Gemma Cadby

The association of sleep apnoea and long-term health outcomes in Western Australian adults

Dr Gemma Cadby from the UWA Centre for Genetic Origins of Health and Disease was awarded a 2016 Raine Priming Grant.

Raine Priming Grant

Centre for Genetic Origins of Health and Disease, The University of Western Australia

2016 - 2018


Dr Cadby is a Research Fellow in the Division of Genetics within the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at The University of Western Australia. She received her PhD in Genetic Epidemiology in 2010 from The University of Western Australia and was awarded a Raine Priming Grant to investigate obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and its association with poor health outcomes, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, motor vehicle accidents, and mental health disorders. The study has found that more women are being diagnosed with OSA, increasing from 10% of patients in 1989 to over 40% in 2013.

The average body mass index has also increased over time, from approximately 32 in 1989 to 34 in 2013. The researchers of the study have also seen a link between the severity of OSA and cancer diagnosis, however this link can be explained by risk factors that are linked to both OSA and cancer, such as age, sex and body mass index.

The findings from this study have led to a publication on the association of OSA with cancer and a report for the Road Safety Commission on the association between OSA and motor vehicle crash-related injury. The study team will continue to research the association between OSA and other complex health issues including psychosis, mortality and cardiovascular disease. The findings from this study will help to tell us whether the presence and severity of OSA, and its treatment, predicts future risk of problems such as heart attacks, strokes, and cancers, independent of known risk factors.