Pulmonary Rehabilitation - PR for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sometimes CPAP therapy is not enough and sleep doctors prescribe a more personalized treatment. When a person cannot change their habits enough to make CPAP alone work for them every night, all night, there are still possibilities such as surgery, implants that stimulate the muscles, and oral appliances.  For patients that want to supplement their CPAP therapy, with breathing exercises read on. This article describes how Pulmonary Rehabilitation - PR for Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be very beneficial.

Researching PR for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

During the 2015 American Thoracic Society International Conference, Dr. Katerina Neumannova, MSc, PhD at Palacky University in the Czech Republic, presented the recent study of Pulmonary Rehabilitation (PR) treatment for patients who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). In their study, they discovered that PR treatment could be beneficial for patients with OSA syndrome, when used in conjunction with comprehensive therapy. The study, conducted on 40 newly diagnosed patients with OSA, tested the impact PR therapy had on their apnea/hypopnea index (AHI), body mass index (BMI), pulmonary function and certain body circumferences.

The patients were randomized into two groups, one that would receive only CPAP therapy, while the other would receive both CPAP therapy as well as PR therapy, for a total of 6 weeks. These patients had two sessions of Pulmonary Rehabilitation therapy per week for 60 minutes, during the time of the testing. In these sessions, patients had respiratory muscle training, exercise training, oropharayngeal exercises and breathing retraining.

Study Results of Using PR for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The final results from the samples showed decreases in severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in both groups, as well as a decrease in their overall body fat. However, the group that receive PR therapy, in addition to CPAP therapy, showed decreases in the neck, waist and hip circumferences of BMI and an improvement in pulmonary function. Overall, patients with OSA could benefits from partaking in PR therapy.

What is PR for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

But what exactly is pulmonary rehabilitation and how can it benefit OSA patients? Pulmonary rehab is program that encompasses many different practices aimed to help improve the well being of people who suffer from chronic breathing problems. These practices include nutritional counseling, energy-conserving techniques, exercise training and breathing strategies. The breathing strategies taught during PR therapy teach patients how to intake the proper amount of air necessary, without having to work so hard to breathe. For patients who suffer from OSA, training their bodies in these breathing techniques will provide them will deep healthy breaths. In turn, inhaling and exhaling, as shown in the recent study, can have a positive effect on their overall quality of life.

PR for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.