Long-Term Side Effects of CPAP Treatment


The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is used on patients suffering from sleep-disordered breathing, which, in turn, can lead to a wide range of potentially harmful outcomes, including interrupted sleeping patterns and hypertension. A CPAP machine provides a continuous flow of air to the user, who wears a mask over his nose and mouth during sleep.

Long-Term Benefits

  • A study that appeared in the European Respiratory Journal in 2000 reviewed the mood, sleepiness, vigilance and reaction time of CPAP users after having been on the machine longer than 12 months. They discovered that CPAP users improved significantly in vigilance and reaction time tests, but the results for depression and anxiety did not improve at the same level.

CPAP Use in Three Months to One Year

  • The study showed that the majority of the improvement came during the first three months, and little to no progress occurred during the time between three and 12 months.

Depression and Anxiety

  • Patients undergoing treatment with the CPAP machine did not exhibit significant depression or anxiety-related problems prior to starting treatment, which may have contributed to there being little improvement in these measurements.

CPAP Benefits in Cardiovascular Patients

  • A study that appeared in the June 2006 issue of Thorax, an international journal on respiratory medicine, indicated that continuous treatment with a CPAP machine can reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease in patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea, including increased blood pressure and C-protein levels.

Long-Term Effects on Upper Airway

  • A study that appeared in the Sleep & Breathing journal in May 2009 showed that long-term treatment of obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea patients with a CPAP machine was effective due to a mechanical immobilization of the upper airway and an improvement of the anatomical and functional aspects of the upper airway.

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