For patients with obstructive sleep apnea, 3-months of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy can dramatically lower blood pressure, cholesterol and abdominal fat, partially reversing metabolic abnormalities, according to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.
A face mask is attached to the CPAP machine, which uses air pressure to keep the airways open.
86 patients from the sleep laboratory at AIIMS were treated with either a legitimate CPAP machine or a doctored device that included an airflow-restricting connector and tiny escape holes. Patients used each of the machines for 3-months, with a 1-month break between treatment.
After treatment with CPAP, the patient's systolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 3.9 mmHg, while their diastolic blood pressure fell by 2.5 mmHg. Total cholesterol was reduced by 13.3 mg/deciliter and LDL cholesterol dropped by 9.6 mg/deciliter. Benefits were seen in abdominal fat content, weight loss and improved hemoglobin levels. The study also found that adherence to the therapy showed a reduction in plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries leading to the brain.
Lead author of the study, Mr. Surendra Sharma said, "These patients need to be properly counseled for regular use of CPAP machines because compliance is associated with greater benefits."
The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.