There are plenty of good reasons to persuade people with sleep apnea to be treated. The widespread disorder can cause disruptions in breathing at night, which can ruin sleep and raise the likelihood of problems like fatigue and obesity.
The standard treatment for the condition is a mask worn at night that delivers continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Wearing the CPAP can significantly improve your apnea, and may do more than just restore normal breathing at night. Some research suggests that it may reduce inflammation, benefiting overall health.
Many studies have already looked at the link between sleep apnea and high levels of inflammatory markers. To get a clearer picture of the connection, a team of researchers recently carried out a meta-analysis that took data from trials involving over 1,000 patients.
The data suggested that treating sleep apnea with CPAP significantly reduces levels of two proteins associated with inflammation: tumor necrosis and C- reactive protein, or CRP. Sleep apnea is a risk factor for several severe chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is not clear whether apnea helps drive the development of these disorders or vice versa. But reducing inflammation may be one way in which treatment with CPAP reverses some of the long-term consequences of the sleep disorder.
Overall treating sleep apnea with positive airway pressure helps to lower systemic inflammation, which may prevent some of the other problems associated with the disorder.