Sleep Apnea and Aerobic Fitness

Friday, February 06, 2015

People who suffer from moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea may have poorer aerobic fitness levels than their peers. Dr. Edward Hill discusses a study that looked at sleep apnea and aerobic fitness in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

People with sleep apnea may have lower levels of aerobic fitness.

Sleep apnea causes the upper airway to become blocked by soft tissue in the back of the throat during sleep. This causes pauses in breathing and other symptoms, such as gasping and snoring.

Researchers studied 15 adults with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea and a comparison group of 19 adults with mild or no apnea. They pedaled a stationary bike at increasingly harder resistance levels and kept going until exhaustion.

On average, people in the sleep apnea group scored 14 percent lower on a test that measures the maximum amount of oxygen a person can take in during intense exercise.

People with sleep apnea are more likely to be overweight or obese, and thus less fit. However, researchers found that people with sleep apnea had poorer aerobic fitness than those in the comparison group, even if they were the same body size. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.