November 24, 2014
Science Daily/University of California, San Diego Health Sciences
People with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea may have an intrinsic inability to burn high amounts of oxygen during strenuous aerobic exercise, according to a new study.
People who suffer from apnea are more likely to be obese and thus would be expected to be less fit as well. The researchers, however, found that apnea patients had a reduced aerobic fitness, even compared with those of similar body mass indices.
"Encouraging patients to exercise more is part of the story, but that is not the whole story," said lead author Jeremy Beitler, MD, assistant clinical professor in pulmonary and critical care medicine. "We believe the sleep apnea itself causes structural changes in muscle that contributes to their difficulty exercising."