Golfers who undergo treatment for obstructive sleep apnea are likely to improve their golf game along with the overall health, reveals a new study.
The researchers showed that golfers with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who received nasal positive airway pressure (NPAP) for their disorder improved their daytime sleepiness scores and lowered their golf handicap by as much as three strokes.
They hope that the prospect of improving golf game might motivate people to improve NPAP compliance rates.
"More so than many sports, golf has a strong intellectual component, with on-course strategizing, focus, and endurance being integral components to achieving good play," said Dr Marc L. Benton, FCCP, Atlantic Sleep and Pulmonary Associates, Madison, NJ.
"OSAS can lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and cognitive impairment, all side effects which can negatively impact a person's ability to golf to the best of one's ability," he added.
During the study, researchers evaluated the impact of NPAP on the golf handicap index (HI) of 12 golfers with diagnosed moderate to severe OSA. They also assessed the Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS), to examine daytime sleepiness.
After 20 rounds of golf, the treatment group demonstrated a significant drop in average HI. Its ESS score also improved.
"As any golfer knows, when your ability to think clearly or make good decisions is compromised, the likelihood of playing your best is greatly diminished," said Benton.
"Through treatment with NPAP, we can improve many cognitive metrics, such as attention span, memory, decision-making abilities, and frustration management, which may, in turn, positively affect a person's golf game," he added.
The study was presented at 75th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP).