Sleep Apnea Treatments May Protect Heart
Treatments for sleep apnea might help control factors, such as blood pressure, that increase the risk of heart disease, new research finds. The two new studies appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. One study included 318 adults with sleep apnea. They had either heart disease or a high risk of developing it. Two groups were randomly assigned to use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine at night or just receive oxygen. The third group got education on good sleep habits. After 12 weeks blood pressure was 2 to 3 points lower in the CPAP group than in the others. The second study included 181 obese adults with sleep apnea. They were randomly assigned to 6 months of CPAP, weight-loss counseling or both. The group that used CPAP and lost weight had the largest drop in blood pressure. In the 2 groups that lost weight, the loss averaged 15 pounds.