Recent studies showing the benefit of treating sleep apnea on cardiovascular health and other disease

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, interferes with your ability to breathe naturally during the night. What happens is that the airway gets blocked from relaxing muscles and other tissues in your neck, sinuses, and nose. The airway narrows, causing snoring and the cessation of breathing for a short period of time. The condition strains both your heart and your lungs, causing a spike in blood pressure. Because you stop breathing, you will often have trouble staying asleep.

The Effect of OSA on Cardiovascular Disease

Nearly a billion people in the world experience OSA. Research indicates that people with OSA will likely reduce their risk of dying by using a machine that delivers continuous positive air pressure. That machine is also known as a CPAP.

Another study shows a significant degree of correlation between CPAP usage and the reduction of plaque in the blood vessels of the person using the CPAP. That study also showed that CPAP’s effect on such plaque is greater than that of FDA-approved weight-loss drugs. A third study shows that CPAP also has a positive effect on atrial fibrillation

This is good news for all people who experience OSA. People who experience OSA have a higher risk for stroke, heart attack, hypertension, and congestive heart failure. CPAP reduces that risk across the board. The previously cited MedicalNewsToday article discusses a study in Spain that separated 7,200 people into two groups: those with OSA who no longer used their machines and those with OSA who still used them. The group that still used the machines had a 40% lower risk of dying for any reason and a 36% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Similarly, that group was 18% less likely to be hospitalized for heart-related problems. To find out more about CPAP, contact us today.

Alternatives to CPAP

Some people cannot tolerate the CPAP mask for various reasons. Those reasons could include claustrophobia and discomfort. During this 20-year study, the researchers observed people who were prescribed a CPAP. Overall, based on a seven-hour sleep pattern, the researchers noticed that the people’s adherence to the therapy was only 66%. The rest stopped using the CPAP. About 11% didn’t even make it 4.7 hours per night with the CPAP. These people need sleep apnea solutions in Santa Cruz that don’t include the mask.

These alternatives include different positional methods, surgery, oral appliance therapy in Santa Cruz, and an implant called Inspire. One of the positional methods is a “tongue strengthener.” Inspire expands on this. As an implant, its job is to stimulate your tongue with a small, unnoticeable electric charge to move it back into a normal position so that your airway stays open.

Each of these devices and strategies has its advantages and disadvantages. Inspire, for example, works very well, but it’s only for people whose BMI is 32 or lower. The oral appliance therapy in Santa Cruz is effective for people with mild OSA but not for people with severe OSA. The same is true for positional strategies. Surgery to remove the uvula, tonsils, or other parts inside the mouth that might block the airway could lead to complications and/or recurring pain.

Many doctors also recommend that you lose weight to help alleviate your OSA. Healthy weight loss is slow, so it’s more of a long-term help rather than an immediate treatment.


When you have OSA, you should seek treatment for it to reduce your risk for heart-related diseases and even death. CPAP is usually the best answer, but if it’s not for you, then you can talk to us to get advice on sleep apnea solutions in Santa Cruz.