Posted on Oct 02, 2020, 4 p.m.
A report published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that continuous positive airway pressure treatment at night helped to lower daytime resting heart rates in those who were prediabetics with obstructive sleep apnea, reducing their risk of cardiovascular disease.
An estimated 1 billion people around the world have obstructive sleep apnea which has a prevalence of over 60% in those with diabetes and prediabetes; furthermore, the majority of people with obstructive sleep apnea are undiagnosed.
This randomized controlled trial studies participants with prediabetes; those who used CPAP treatment for 2 weeks experienced a decrease in their resting heart rate by 4-5 beats per minute compared to placebo, and with optimal CPAP treatment, their heart rates were lower at night as well as during the day.
"Any way we can improve cardiovascular health is more important than ever these days," said Esra Tasali, MD, Director of the Sleep Research Center at the University of Chicago Medicine.
"That's significant," Tasali said, noting that a drop of even one beat per minute in resting heart rate can lower the mortality rate and future risk of developing cardiovascular disease. "A four- to five-beat-per-minute drop in heart rate that we observed is comparable to what you would get from regular exercise," she added. "Our breakthrough finding is the carryover of the lowered resting heart rate into the daytime and the cardiovascular benefit of that."
The resting heart rate is an indication of health and well being, high rates signal stress to the heart and is a strong predictor of heart problems and death. OSA causes people to repeatedly stop breathing at night, decreasing oxygen intake and disrupting sleep, and it can increase the risk for cardiovascular conditions. CPAP treats OSA by keeping the airway open and oxygen levels steady during the night, lowering the heart rate.
“Our recent findings urge people who have prediabetes, diabetes or sleeping problems to be screened for sleep apnea," said Sushmita Pamidi, MD, a sleep physician-scientist at McGill University in Montreal.
"The majority of patients don't make a connection as to how their sleep can affect their hearts. With regards to their sleep apnea, patients just think how sleepy they are the next day," Tasali said. "I always explain to my patients that sleep apnea can also be harmful to their cardiovascular health."
Materials provided by:
Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.