Sleeping beauty on CPAP?
We know that Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous yet common disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops during sleep. The gold-standard in treatment is positive airway pressure (AKA as CPAP), but still up to 83% of patients don’t fully comply with the treatment. The thought of sleep apnea contributing to heart problems and other chronic ailments I guess isn’t enough to get patients on therapy. Well what if I told you that CPAP makes you better looking? A recent study is trying to argue that.
Get Better-Looking With CPAP
In this recent study, researchers recruited 20 patients with newly diagnosed sleep apnea. Each was provided with CPAP, and the patients’ adherence with treatment was confirmed by electronic download of information from the CPAP units. Each patient was photographed before treatment and then again after consistent CPAP use for two months. These before-and-after stills were taken using advanced photographic technology called 3-D digital photogrammetry. For the photos, participants had freshly scrubbed, makeup-free faces with lighting controlled as well as controlled time of day that the pictures were taken.
Researchers then set about gauging the effects of CPAP, both subjectively and objectively, on patients’ appearance…
Subjective test—what other people saw:
The before-and-after photo pairs of each participant were shown to 22 volunteer raters, 12 of whom had some kind of medical training. The raters picked a photo from each pair in which the subject looked more alert, more attractive, and more youthful. They also were asked to guess which photo in each pair was taken after CPAP treatment began. Raters were not required to select the same photo for all four attributes. The results were pretty interesting. In about two-thirds of cases, the raters said that the subjects looked more alert, attractive and youthful in the “after” photos…and raters also correctly identified two-thirds of the post-treatment photos.
Objective test—what the software picked up:
The photos also were analyzed by a computer program and the results were equally interesting. Compared to the “before” images, the subjects in the “after” photos had less puffiness in the skin of the forehead (possibly because improved cardiac function reduced nighttime fluid buildup) The programs also noted less redness under the eyes and over the cheeks. Additionally, forehead wrinkles also improved. There were also some interesting negatives or non-changes. There was no detectable changes in eyelid drooping or undereye circles.
Bottom line for apnea patients
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious oxygen depriving disorder that contributes to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and congestive heart failure, among others. If these health consequences alone aren’t enough to get you on CPAP maybe the fact that you become more attractive will get you adherent.