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A new study has shown that using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment can lower the risk of heart disease in people with prediabetes. Prediabetes is diagnosed when someone has high blood sugar levels, but not high enough to be considered diabetic. Diabetes and prediabetes often occur alongside sleep apnoea, a disorder in which your breathing repeatedly starts and stops during the night. As many as 71% of diabetic patients also have obstructive sleep apnoea. These conditions can seriously increase the risk of heart disease if left untreated.

However, this new study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that using CPAP treatment for just 2 weeks lowered the resting heart rate of pre-diabetic, sleep apnoea patients by 4-5 beats per minute compared to those not on treatment. This wasn’t only at night – even during the day, patients on CPAP treatment had lower heart rates.

“A four- to five-beat-per-minute drop in heart rate that we observed is comparable to what you would get from regular exercise,” said Dr Esra Tasali, the study author. Even a drop of 1 beat per minute can lower the risk of future heart disease. So if you have prediabetes, diabetes, or any sleeping problems, now is the time to get screened for sleep apnoea. Speak to your doctor or sleep physician about sleep apnoea, and book in a sleep study.