CPAP treatment of sleep apnea lowers cardiovascular risk – significantly, when compared to what it potentially could be if sleep apnea goes untreated on a chronic level.
Daytime Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
• Feeling dog tired despite getting a “full night’s” sleep.
• Frequently feeling drowsy throughout the day.
• Having to take naps but never feeling recharged.
• Easily falling asleep while watching TV, reading or doing computer work.
• Drowsiness when driving.
• Low energy, fatigue.
• Morning headaches.
• Irritability, trouble concentrating.
When the patient begins CPAP treatment, the daytime symptoms may be completely gone after the first treatment.
The patient who’s compliant with CPAP use will often report that they feel refreshed in the morning, alert and perked up throughout the day and have energy they never thought they had.
This new-found energy can motivate the sleep apnea patient to resume an exercise program that had been abandoned due to the symptoms of untreated sleep apnea.
If the patient had never been into exercise, the new-found energy may still be an incentive to take up exercise. And then from that, any excess body weight may be lost.
As a result, the patient gains improved cardiovascular health and function and lowers their risk of heart attack and stroke.
This is an indirect result from CPAP use.
So on one hand, CPAP treatment lowers risk of cardiovascular events and disease by restoring the energy and wakefulness needed to stick to an exercise regimen.
And this indirect mechanism surely exists for many patients.
However, CPAP lowers cardiovascular risk much more so through a direct route. This is because untreated sleep apnea causes a ripple effect of great damage to the cardiovascular system.
When this ripple effect is ended (via CPAP treatment), the damage stops, and hence, risk of cardiovascular death or disease is drastically lowered.
Untreated sleep apnea is a boulder that drops into a pond and creates never-ending ripples that keep expanding outward, harming the heart and other functions of the body in ways that you’d never even think of.
Just exactly how does repeatedly stopped breathing during sleep wreak so much havoc on cardiovascular health? It’s explained in this article – in plain English. Cpap risk lower