CPAP Treatment Found to Reduce Inflammation in Sleep Apnea Patients
If you, or someone you know, has or may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), there is growing evidence regarding the effectiveness of a treatment called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, commonly known as CPAP.
A new study published March 22 in the Journal of Inflammation found that treating sleep apnea with a CPAP machine helps to lower systemic inflammation, which might prevent some of the other problems associated with the obstructive sleep apnea. The source of the research were the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane library.
When you fall asleep, your muscles relax, and the soft palate at the back of the throat can sag. When this happens, the upper airway can become obstructed, causing the soft palate and uvula to vibrate, causing snoring.
When the airway is completely obstructed, breathing stops for a period of time, until the body is jerked awake in reaction. This is obstructive sleep apnea. OSA can cause interrupted breathing hundreds of times a night, usually around 20 seconds per pause.
This paused breathing causes waking through the night, preventing deep, restorative sleep. This often leads to a host of problems, from daytime sleepiness and reduced job performance to hypertension, heart disease, mood, and memory problems.
A CPAP machine helps this condition by pumping a continuous flow of air into the nasal passages — via a mask worn at night — keeping the airway open, and preventing or greatly reducing snoring and paused breathing.
Studying CPAP and inflammation
In addition to improving breathing and reducing snoring and paused breathing, the new study found that CPAP treatment also reduces systemic inflammation, a common side effect of OSA. Systemic inflammation is the chronic biological response, or inflammation, of blood vessel tissues due to dangerous or foreign elements, such as pathogens or damaged cells.
To find out if CPAP treatment positively affects levels of inflammatory symptoms or “markers” in OSA patients, the researchers conducted a study, or meta-analysis, that pooled data from 24 trials involving more than 1,000 patients.
The resulting data suggested that treating OSA with CPAP significantly reduces levels of two proteins associated with systemic inflammation: tumor necrosis factor and C-reactive protein (CRP).
The takeaway of the study is that treating sleep apnea with CPAP helps to lower systemic inflammation in OSA patients, which might prevent some of the other problems associated with the disorder. While more study is needed, the researchers believe that reducing systemic inflammation in OSA patients with CPAP treatment may be one way to reverse some of the long-term health disorders associated with the sleep disorder.
Read the abstract of the study, “Treatment for sleep apnea by continuous positive airway pressure improves levels of inflammatory markers — a meta-analysis.”
CPAP that’s right for you
If you or someone you know is considering Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment, you’ll need a sleep study to diagnosis whether or not you have sleep apnea, and a sleep specialist will recommend the correct CPAP machine, or treatment, for you. Visit the eOs Sleep sleep apnea treatments page for more information.
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