We already know that treating obstructive sleep apnea can help you to sleep better, but there’s been conflicting studies showing the benefits of CPAP on high blood pressure, diabetes, or risk of heart disease. However, for the most part, CPAP has been found to be helpful with hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors.
Here’s a small study out of India showing that CPAP significantly lowered various markers for metabolic syndrome (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance). Eighty-six volunteers (87% had metabolic syndrome) with were randomized to be given CPAP or sham CPAP therapy for 3 months. After 3 months, the two group were reversed. People treated with CPAP had an overall drop of 3.9 mm Hg systolic (top number) blood pressure, and 2.5 mm Hg in the diastolic (bottom) number. Total cholesterol went down 13.1 points, and LDL dropped 9.6 points. Triglycerides also dropped, by 18.7 points. Thirteen percent no longer had metabolic syndrome.
On a side note, this study was funded by Pfizer, which makes many of the popular medications for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It’s interesting that they would fund a study that would make it less necessary to use their prescription medications. We know that they don’t manufacture CPAP machines, so I wonder why they funded this study. Could they be interested in entering the sleep apnea market?