Use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device in people with obstructive sleep apnea may improve some components of metabolic syndrome, particularly hypertension, according to an industry-supported study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers in India randomized 90 people with at least moderately severe sleep apnea to 3 months of either CPAP or sham CPAP (sham treatment used a mask with escape holes and a flow restrictor). Following a 1-month washout, patients switched treatments. More than 80% had metabolic syndrome before treatment.
More patients receiving CPAP therapy, versus sham therapy, experienced a reversal of metabolic syndrome (13% vs. 1%). CPAP was also associated with greater reductions in blood pressure (differences between treatments: systolic: -3.9 mm Hg; diastolic: -2.5 mm Hg), glycated hemoglobin, cholesterol, BMI, and abdominal fat.
The authors write: “These results suggest a significant clinical benefit that will lead to a reduction in cardiovascular risk.”