Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size

Men's Sleep Apnea Increases Heart Problems

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Helps, Say Spanish Researchers
WebMD Health News

March 17, 2005 -- Men with severe obstructive sleep apnea appear to run a higher risk of fatal or nonfatal heart problems.obstructive sleep apnea appear to run a higher risk of fatal or nonfatal heart problems.

But treating men's sleep apnea with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) for at least four hours a night can lower that risk, a new Spanish study shows.

"Treatment with CPAP significantly reduces cardiovascular risk in patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea," write the researchers.

Breathing Briefly Blocked During Sleep

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a person regularly stops breathing during sleep for 10 seconds or longer. The episodes can happen from five to 50 times per hour. That's beyond occasional interruptions in breathing, which are normal.

Obstructive sleep apnea Obstructive sleep apnea -- the focus of the Spanish study -- is usually caused by a blockage in the nose or mouth from a structural problem that gets in the way of airflow during sleep.

Most patients are overweight, middle-aged men, but anyone can get it, including children. Obstructive sleep apnea affects 4% of middle-aged men and 2% of middle-aged women, say researchers.

The problem is also a hazard during waking hours. "This disorder is widely accepted to be associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality, mostly due to [heart] disease and traffic accidents," write the researchers.

Hearts at Risk?

Many previous studies have shown that obstructive sleep apnea significantly increases the risk of fatal or nonfatal heart problems, especially in people with pre-existing heart disease, say researchers.

Their goal was to improve on those studies and see if CPAP made a difference.

CPAP CPAP helps people with obstructive sleep apnea breathe more easily during sleep. It's considered the first treatment of choice and is the most widely used approach to obstructive sleep apnea.

Patients use the CPAP device at home every night. They wear a mask that covers their nose, or nasal prongs that are hooked to a hose and the machine. The device forces air into the airways, which prevents it from collapsing when the patient inhales.

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Man taking blood pressure
doctor holding syringe
Condom Quiz
man running
older couple in bed