Your sleep therapy is prescribed to help you sleep better, but it also provides other health benefits. A study from the New England Journal of Medicine illustrates how PAP therapy helps people sleep better, while also helping to reduce blood pressure, insulin resistance, systemic hypertension, and cardiovascular risk.1, 2
When you combine your PAP therapy with a weight loss program, the benefits are even greater. With the addition of a weight loss program, reductions in blood pressure and insulin resistance are more significant. C-reactive protein levels measure inflammation in the body; these are also reduced, as well as serum triglycerides. Reductions in these areas can help alleviate chronic symptoms and greatly improve quality of life.
A walking program is an ideal way to start exercising and get fit. It's low impact, inexpensive, and can be done indoors or out. They key is to set realistic goals. Start small and build from there. Everyone's fitness level is different. If necessary, start with as little as five to ten minutes of walking three days a week. Every week or so, add another three to five minutes to your walk, and when you're ready, increase to four days and then five. As your fitness level improves, also try to walk faster, so that you're covering more distance in the same amount of time.
Exercise should become a regular part of your daily routine. Keep using your PAP, and talk to your doctor about adding an exercise program to increase the overall benefits to your health.
1. Chirinos JA, Gurubhagavatula I, Teff K, et al. CPAP, weight loss, or both for obstructive sleep apnea. N Engl J Med 2014; 370:2265-75.
2. Gottlieb DJ, Punjabi NM, Mehra R, et al. CPAP versus oxygen in obstructive sleep apnea. N Engl J Med 2014; 370:2276-85