Haven’t seen much science on this subreddit. Here’s my offering.
This study follows up on previous research that had demonstrated a few things:
1) Left and right ventrical dysfunctions have been documented in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients, usually as a late complication in the disease progression. Left ventrical strain has been documented during apnea sleep, likely resulting in these dysfunctions. Impairment of left and right centricular myocardial performance index correlates well with number of AHI.
2) Microvascular disease and endothelial dysfunction are the earliest manifestations of coronary heart disease and can be found in patients without obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) or myocardial disease.
3) CPAP treated OSA patients improved endothelial functions
This study took two groups of untreated OSA patients with no documented coronary artery disease (no significant artery plaque buildup) or myocardial disease (normal functioning heart) were treated with either a real CPAP or a fake CPAP. Before and after treatment, participants were measured on several metrics. Flow mediated dilation was measured to determine endothelial function, and myocardial perfusion reserve was measured to determine microvascular function.
All participants had apparently normal cardiac measurements and blood pressure readings, but abnormal flow mediated dilation and myocardial perfusion reserve scores at the beginning of treatment. Only the real CPAP participants increased their scores in both FMD and MPR metrics after treatment, some even reaching normal levels after the 3 months of CPAP use.
This study confirmed that CPAP improves OSA-induced endothelial dysfunctions. It also proves that microvascular dysfunction exists in OSA patients. These dysfunctions can develop into or progress existing cardiovascular diseases.
In short, sleep apnea impairs your vascular system. It’s been shown that apnea patients cannot get their arteries to widen enough when it’s needed, and the heart cannot get enough blood during stress. Both impaired vascular systems and sleep apnea in general has been known to increase risks of developing coronary artery disease–think of your body with existing issues of narrow arteries from an apnea-related microvascular disorder struggling even more with added plaque narrowing. Get treated, you already have an impaired vascular system!