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Treating Sleep Apnea Could Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Risk

A recent article in the Journal of the American Heart Association authored by Esra Tasali, MD, Director from the Sleep Research Center at the University of Chicago Medicine, and Sushmita Pamidi, MD of McGill University in Montreal has revealed a connection between treating obstructive sleep apnea and reducing cardiovascular disease in adults.

The study examined the effects of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) on those with prediabetes. Prediabetes is defined as a condition where the blood sugar levels of the body are elevated but are still not considered to be high enough to qualify as diabetes. The study found that when used properly, the patients undergoing CPAP therapy saw a reduction in their daytime resting heart rates. This in turn lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease.

In the study, patients who used CPAP therapy for a two week period experienced a drop in their resting heart rate of about four or five beats per minute. This occurred both during the day and also at night during their sleep apnea treatment.

Though the study did not examine the effects of sleep orthotics on patients with obstructive sleep apnea, sleep orthotics often produce similar, more-effective results than traditional CPAP therapy. This is because sleep orthotics are not only more comfortable to wear, they are also more likely to be worn, making them more useful and effective than CPAP. Thus, though the study did not utilize orthotics, it is possible that using a sleep orthotic could help bring about the same results as CPAP did in this study. More studies may need to be conducted to examine this link, however.

It is also important to highlight that according to the study’s authors, prediabetes and cardiovascular disease put patients at a higher risk of more severe COVID-19 symptoms, so treating sleep apnea symptoms during this pandemic benefits not just the sleep apnea symptoms and also the comorbid symptoms that are commonly associated with sleep apnea, it also works to hopefully mitigate any COVID-19 symptoms should the patient become infected.

The important takeaway from this study is that the systems of our body are all connected, and treating conditions like sleep apnea can have positive effects throughout the entire body. So don’t put off treatment for sleep apnea. Speak to Dr. Peterson about a custom sleep appliance. It could improve your quality of life.

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