CPAP Treatment Improves Alertness for People With Sleep Apnea

According to a study, alertness can be increased as well as quality of life improved for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers with CPAP treatment, even with minimal symptoms. Individuals taking part in the study reported daytime sleepiness improvement within 6 months of starting treatment with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure).[1]

Daytime sleepiness is clearly reduced and quality of life substantially improved in individuals having very limited symptoms with CPAP treatment, at a rate of approximately half the improvement seen in individuals having more severe symptoms. It’s well known that treatment with CPAP greatly improves obstructive sleep apnea in individuals having considerable daytime sleepiness symptoms. The effect of CPAP on individuals having obstructive sleep apnea with few symptoms, or no symptoms, which is much more common, hasn’t been properly evaluated. This study investigated how CPAP affected measurements of sleepiness and quality of life in individuals having minimally symptomatic obstructive sleep apnea.

Data was analyzed from 341 individuals having proven obstructive sleep apnea but insufficient current symptoms as determined by both the sleep physician and the individual to warrant CPAP therapy. Individuals were randomized to have either 6 months of CPAP treatment or none. A standard scoring system made use of in sleep studies, known as The Epworth Sleepiness Score, was utilized for measuring changes in daytime sleepiness at the beginning of the study, and again 6 months later. Sleepiness and wakefulness were also measured making use of the OSLER (Oxford Sleep Resistance Test), which requires individuals to lie quietly and react to a flashing light at repeated intervals for prolonged periods of time, and a standard questionnaire was used to assess quality of life.

It was discovered that after 6 months of treatment, daytime sleepiness was reduced and wakefulness increased with CPAP in comparison to the group that had standard treatment. The odds of falling asleep during the OSLER test were 49% lower in the group that had CPAP treatment when compared with individuals in the group that had standard treatment. Significantly higher quality of life scores were also found in the CPAP group in comparison to the standard care group.

The Secret to Better Sleep Infographic

The Secret to Better Sleep Infographic

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