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Researchers Find Higher BMI in CPAP Users


Another new study has been released about the side effects of using – or not properly using- continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, and it could mean big trouble for your waistline. The study, which was published in The Annals of The American Thoracic Society found that patients who are treated with CPAP therapy, especially those who used their CPAP devices for five hours or less each night, had higher BMI’s following their treatment. Researchers also found that patients who underwent CPAP and did not have cardiovascular disease and had baseline dysglycemia were also at a higher risk for increased BMI.

This is unexpected news for some because a higher BMI is associated with untreated obstructive sleep apnea, not treated. Treating sleep apnea has been found to help patients lose weight in the past, as well as to better control weight-related medical problems like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, however, this new study shows that sleep apnea treatment alone may not be enough.

It also shows that CPAP therapy may not be as effective as initially thought, especially when not used as prescribed. Underused CPAP therapy is a major problem facing the sleep apnea community, as many find the machines uncomfortable and do not use them as prescribed. This in turn lessens their effectiveness, leaving users untreated and vulnerable to the same side effects they would be exposed to were they not being treated for sleep apnea at all.

While the researchers in the study did not offer a solution to the increasing BMI of participants, they did suggest weight management programs should go hand in hand with sleep apnea treatment when necessary.

Another solution may be to consider alternative therapies to CPAP therapy. There are other options available to get you the results you desire when it comes to your sleep apnea. The Nightlase treatment or mandibular advancement devices (MAD’s) are great ways to control your sleep apnea without the need for complicated and overwhelming CPAP machines. Studies have shown MAD’s are more likely to be used than CPAP, making them more effective than CPAP.

If you suffer from sleep apnea and would like to explore your options, please contact Dr. Peterson’s office for a consultation today.

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Posted in: sleep apnea

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