Continuous positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP, helps patients with sleep apnea breathe better during sleep by pushing air into the nose through a mask to keep airways open.
The treatment has been shown to improve daytime sleepiness and reduce blood pressure, but its impact on heart disease, stroke, and diabetes risk factors that are common in patients with sleep apnea has not been well understood.
Researcher Surendra K. Sharma, MD, PhD, of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi tells WebMD that along with weight loss and lifestyle modification, treatment with CPAP may be an important way to lower heart attack, stroke, and diabetes risk in patients with sleep apnea.
Treatment with CPAP was also associated with a significant decrease in abdominal fat and body mass index (BMI).
It was also associated with a significant decrease in hemoglobin A1c values, which indicate average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. And 1 in 5 patients with metabolic syndrome before starting CPAP treatment no longer had the condition after three months of treatment.