Managed Healthcare Executive: A new study gives physicians the power to help patients at risk of obstructive sleep apnea, but it also highlights the relative lack of public attention on prevention.

Tianyi Huang, ScD, MSc, said it is clear exercise has a number of health benefits, including improving inflammation and reducing obesity. However, Huang told Managed Healthcare Executive that there are also some specific mechanisms by which exercise can help OSA.

“For example, an active lifestyle during the day helps reduce excessive body fluid retention in the lower body,” said Huang, an assistant professor and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “At night, when people lie down to sleep, these excessive body fluids in the lower body can flow back to the upper part of the body, pressure the lung to reduce its volume and cause sleep apnea.”