"This study adds to the growing body of knowledge that obstructive sleep apnea has long-term consequences for your health, and that treatment reverses some of those consequences," said Dr. David Rapoport, an associate professor of medicine and director of the Sleep Disorders Program at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
Rapoport said it wasn't clear from this study if any of the benefits seen came solely from weight loss in those on CPAP and weight gain for those on sham treatment.
"This study is thought-provoking and could be really wonderful news that using a breathing machine could have all of these beneficial effects. But, ultimately, we'd want to see clinical end points, such as the incidence of cardiovascular deaths, in order to know if an intervention is appropriate and helpful," said Dr. Tara Narula, a cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
To learn more about CPAP, go to the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
SOURCES: Surendra K. Sharma, M.D., Ph.D., professor, and head, internal medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India; David Rapoport, M.D., associate professor of medicine, and director, Sleep Disorders Program, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Tara Narula, M.D., cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Dec. 15, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine
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