Researchers in the US have found that people with sleep apnoea may not have the same capacity to exercise as people without the condition.
The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, involved 15 people with moderate-to-severe sleep apnoea, and 19 without.
Each participant was assessed during an exercise test where they were asked to pedal on an exercise bike, with the level of intensity gradually increasing until they reached the point of exhaustion.
While completing this test, participants’ lung and heart function was monitored to test the amount of oxygen that was burned during the strenuous exercise. The measurement they used is known as VO2 max, which is considered to show a person’s capacity to exercise. For example, elite athletes will typically have high levels of VO2 max.
The researchers found that the people with sleep apnoea had, on average, 14% lower levels of VO2 max than those without the condition. They also noted that the severity of the sleep apnoea had an impact on exercise capacity, as people with the more severe forms tended to have lower VO2 max levels.
The scientists have called for further research into the use of this type of test and in assessing the health of people with sleep apnoea.
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