Exercise was found to be an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea in a recent study, according to Medpage Today.
In the analysis of eight small studies with a total of 182 patients, both supervised and unsupervised exercise was associated with significant decreases in the apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) and improvements in other sleep measures, including the Epworth sleepiness scale (ESS), researcher Martina Mookadam, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona, and colleagues wrote.
Their meta-analysis was published online ahead of print in the journal Respiratory Medicine.
“The reduction in OSA indices may need to be further explored via comparison of larger participant numbers, supervised and unsupervised exercise programs, frequency of treatment, treatment duration and exercise protocols,” the team wrote. “Though lifestyle intervention, upper airway surgery, mandibular advancement, and CPAP [continuous positive airway pressure] have shown similar decreases in OSA indices, exercise programs as treatment reduce AHI and the underlying cause of OSA.”
In an interview with MedPage Today, Mookadam said anecdotal observations of symptom improvement in OSA patients who were exercising for other reasons led to the meta-analysis.