Physical activity to reduce obstructive sleep apnoea: a 12-week intervention.

Senior, Emily H. (2021). Physical activity to reduce obstructive sleep apnoea: a 12-week intervention. University of Birmingham. M.Sc.

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It has previously been shown that exercise can reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). This effect has been shown to occur both with, and independent of, a reduction in weight or change in body mass index (BMI). A combination of the increased risk of cardiovascular disease caused by OSA and generally low adherence to the current treatment by continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) calls for further research into the use of structured exercise or daily physical activity as an alternative treatment. This study tested a 12-week gradually increasing physical activity intervention to reduce severity of OSA in adults independent of a change in weight. Data from 13 participants (6 females, 7 males) were collected at baseline and after a 12-week physical activity intervention. The intervention involved 3 lots of 10 minutes of physical activity at a rate of perceived exertion (RPE) of 9 in week 1, which steadily increased to 5 lots of 30 minutes of physical activity at an RPE of 13
in week 12. From pre- to post-intervention there was a significant increase in physical activity (p<0.01), and a significant decrease in the severity of OSA (p<0.01). No significant changes in BMI (p=0.97) were recorded. A moderate to low but non-significant correlation between the change in OSA severity pre to post intervention and the percentage increase in physical activity over the intervention (p=0.466) was found along with a significant interaction between change in severity of OSA and change in body fat percentage (p<0.01). These results suggest that physical activity can reduce the severity of OSA, with a possible dose dependent relationship suggesting that physical activity cannot be ruled out as a cost effective alternative management tool for moderate to severe OSA. The interaction of change in body fat percentage included in the analysis could lead to further research into the effect of fatty deposits in the upper airway muscles, and strength and activity of these muscles as a
possible mechanism for the reduction that is seen.

Keywords: Physical Activity; Obstructive sleep apnoea; sleep disorders; Exercise

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Sc.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Sc.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RZ Other systems of medicine


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