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CPAP Machines Ineffective Against Stroke, Heart Attacks In Sleep Apnea Patients

Update Date: Aug 30, 2016 12:02 PM EDT
Sleep Apnea, CPAP
The CPAP device works to pump air via a breathing tube so that people with sleep apnea can breathe normally during sleep. (Photo : Wiki Commons/ Michael Symonds)

For patients suffering from sleep apnea, there's a remedy at hand - a CPAP mask, which is an airway pressure machine designed to keep the windpipe open while sleeping. Unfortunately, according to latest findings, this might not be an effective remedy for all patients.

According to the Sleep Apnea Cardiovascular Endpoints study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, patients who have been receiving more than three years of CPAP care for sleep apnea do not see a lowered cardiovascular risk than normal patients.

The study, which included 2717 individuals having moderate to severe sleep apnea, consisted of mostly older and overweight men, reported US News.

The patients were randomly given the "usual care" as far the standards of sleep apnea patients or CPAP treatment. After 3.7 years of study, the health outcomes were similar between the two groups. Seventeen percent of patients who received CPAP treatment and 15.4 percent with usual care endured a severe cardiovascular episode.

Fortunately, other benefits of the CPAP treatment were observed by the researchers. "While it is disappointing not to find a reduction in CV events with CPAP treatment, our results show that treatment of OSA in patients with CV disease is nevertheless worthwhile - they are much less sleepy and depressed, and their productivity and quality of life is enhanced," study author Dr. Doug McEvoy said in a statement.

Though the researchers do not know if the adrenaline rush, which results in taking the sleep apnea mask off, is as harmful as sleep apnea itself, still it is anticipated that the cardiovascular disease is too difficult to curb once it has developed fully.

Notably, sleep apnea has been associated with different diseases like increasing obesity, and even cardiovascular diseases. However, the most common symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring or gasping while sleeping. Sleep apnea has no specific remedy as of now.

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