Benefits of Therapy

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for sleep apnea confers many benefits to the patient. Immediately upon initiation of therapy, the patient may feel more rested and energetic, especially if he or she presented symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness. Snoring is eliminated with CPAP therapy, which frequently results in improved sleep for the bed partner as well as the patient. In addition to quality of life improvements for both the patient and family members, effective CPAP therapy has been demonstrated to positively affect cardiovascular and metabolic outcomes.

Improved Cardiovascular Outcomes With CPAP

Studies show that sleep apnea may contribute to the genesis and/or progression of coronary artery disease, heart failure, stroke and mortality. Treatment of sleep apnea with CPAP has been shown to improve cardiovascular function.

  • Effective treatment of sleep apnea with CPAP leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure. Mean reduction was 10 mm Hg1, which correlates with the reduction seen with some anti-hypertensive drugs. For more information on effects of CPAP therapy on hypertension, click here.
  • CPAP therapy is associated with a reduction in risk of fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events. For more information on the effects of CPAP therapy on cardiovascular disease, click here.
  • CPAP treatment of sleep apnea has been shown to reduce the risk of new vascular events in stroke patients. For more information on the effects of CPAP therapy on stroke, click here.

Glycemic Control With CPAP

CPAP therapy may help patients better manage their diabetes. Published findings show:

  • Within two days of treatment, CPAP therapy significantly improved insulin sensitivity in patients with sleep apnea.2
  • In patients with type 2 diabetes, postprandial glucose levels and HbA1c levels were reduced after ~3 months of CPAP therapy.3
  • For more information on the effects of CPAP therapy on glycemic control, click here.

Adherence to CPAP Therapy

As with all medical treatments, adherence to therapy is critical. Preliminary studies have indicated that achieving optimal cardiovascular and metabolic benefits from CPAP therapy requires at least 4 hours of use per night. When initiating treatment with CPAP, patients may need to become accustomed to sleeping with the device. Follow-up to remind the patient of the benefits of therapy, and the potential consequences of not treating their sleep apnea, may help them understand the need for adherence. To help patients with adherence to CPAP therapy, offers therapy tips, recommendations on device maintenance, and other resources on sleep apnea.

1 Becker HF, et al. Circulations 2003; 107:68:73
2 Harsch IA, et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2004; 169:156-62
3 Babu AR, et al. Arch Intern Med 2005;165:447-52