Why CPAP machines are good for sleep apneaContinuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP is a common treatment method for sleep apnea, may be mistakenly associated with the suppression of cancer-related genes. An estimated 18 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Their airways may become partially or fully blocked in a number of times an hour during sleep.

During these breathing stops, their oxygen levels drop and restful sleep patterns are interrupted. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, elevated blood pressure, and an increased risk of stroke and heart problems. That is why cpap machine is necessary for patients with related complications.

CPAP is a small, night table machine that provides pressurized, humidified air via a hose and a mask worn over the nose or mouth or both.

The device keeps the airways open while the user s sleeping. The treatment has been shown to reduce the number of breathing pauses and episodes of shallow breathing. Remarkably, it lessens daytime sleepiness, enhance the control of high blood pressure and decrease the chances of heart and vascular disease, including stroke. Even so, there are indicative researches that question the relation between the cpap and lung cancer.

Dr. Sina Gharib analyzes genetic data and gene interaction networks in his study about the effects of sleep apnea and CPAP at a molecular level. Should someone with lung cancer use cpap? To many, this still remains a mystery. Even so, several other studies have suggested that untreated sleep apnea might raise the chances of developing and dying from cancer. Nevertheless, the link between cancer and sleep apnea remains contentious.  No molecular mechanisms for a possible connection have not been discovered. The most recent study is among the earliest to systematically scrutinize the effects of therapeutic CPAP on gene transcription.
CPAP Use for Sleep Apnea
The researchers from the University of Washington, Case Western Reserve and Harvard University, engaged adults with untreated and moderate-to-severe sleep apnea. They measured the expression of more than 20,000 genes in their circulating white blood cells. They repeated this evaluation on the same adults after two weeks of continuous CPAP treatment.

As expected, the subjects reported less daytime sleepiness and had lower blood pressure. The researchers then mined the voluminous amounts of gene expression and networking data to find air pathways affected by CPAP therapy. Surprisingly, they detected that many of the affected pathways were those that can play a role in abnormal cell changes and growths that can form into cancer. So, it there a link between lung cancer and cpap machines? A majority of the genes associated to these cancer-related pathways became down-regulated in response to CPAP therapy.

Can CPAP cause lung cancer?

According to Dr. Sina Gharib, this is the first report identifying potential pathways and mechanisms relating to sleep apnea with genetic programs involved in cancer. However, it is essential to note that this only a preliminary step in our understanding of how the physiological disturbances triggered by sleep apnea adversely affect cellular function.

Resources and References: