Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea Lowers Risk of Coronary Heart Disease - CPAP Effective In Lowering Danger

Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea Lowers Risk of Coronary Heart Disease - CPAP Effective In Lowering Danger

New research reinforces the importance of treating sleep apnea, a common breathing problem. According to researchers the risk for coronary artery disease increases up to five fold in people with obstructive sleep apnea.

There are two forms of sleep apnea. The most common form is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This is caused when the throat relaxes during sleep. Snoring is a common sign of sleep apnea, and for the most part, the sleeper is unaware he has the condition. When the throat momentarily closes-up the sleeper stops breathing momentarily. The symptoms include a tired feeling during the day.

The other form of sleep apnea is called Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). This usually occurs as we age and UCLA researchers have found that one cause is due to the loss of brain stem cells. Basically, the brain just forgets to breath. This occurs naturally as we age.

This study focused on the OSA. Previous research has shown an increase in blood pressure associated with sleep apnea, but cause and effect was not completely established. Most suspected that sleep apnea caused heart disease, and this new research helps make that point.

The researchers found that 16.2 percent of patients with sleep apnea had coronary artery disease while only 5.4 percent of those without sleep apnea did. But the numbers drastically dropped when treatment was applied.

According to a report from Reuters, among “patients with ineffective treatment, coronary artery disease was diagnosed in 24.6 percent versus 3.9 percent of those effectively treated.” Sleep apnea nearly quintupled the risk of developing coronary artery disease regardless of age, gender, high blood pressure, diabetes, or current smoking.

The treatment is simple and will also cure snoring in the vast majority of patients. More importantly, the treatment of sleep apnea will cut the risk of coronary heart disease by about two thirds.

The most common treatment involves a Constant Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine. After diagnosis during a sleep study, the physician will prescribe a CPAP machine. Most insurance companies will pay for it, but even if they don’t, the overwhelming evidence makes the investment a wise one.

By Marsha Quinn



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