Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a common disorder in adults. Its hallmark is repetitive episodes of partial or complete obstruction of the upper airway during sleep associated with increasing respiratory efforts. This leads to oxyhaemoglobin desaturation, sleep fragmentation, and daytime symptoms, mainly excessive sleepiness. Accumulating evidence suggests that intermittent hypoxia and oxyhaemoglobin desaturation may, irrespective of obesity, lead to elevation of serum lipids even in non-dyslipidaemic OSA patients. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the treatment of choice for OSA, since it eliminates upper airway collapse during sleep and improves sleep fragmentation, daytime symptoms and quality of life. Moreover, it has been proposed that the amelioration of breathing disturbances during sleep can improve several markers of the lipid profile, such as total cholesterol, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol as well as apolipoproteins A, B and C. Indeed, some studies have reported improvements in these parameters especially in CPAP adherent patients. However, other studies failed to confirm this beneficial effect. The present article reviews the issue whether CPAP treatment exerts a beneficial effect on lipids.

Keywords: Continuous positive airway pressure, cholesterol, lipid profile, obstructive sleep apnoea, triglycerides..
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