People treated for sleep apnea look younger, more attractive

People suffering from sleep apnea appeared more alert, youthful and attractive after undergoing treatment for two months, Medical News Today reported.

In a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 20 adults with obstructive sleep apnea - a condition linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression and stroke -  were treated using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

CPAP therapy requires patients to wear a face mask while they sleep in order to open their airway. The treatment can help relieve snoring, improve alertness and lower blood pressure.

In order to measure the attractiveness of the patients, researchers used a system known as "photogrammetry" to capture 3D photos both before and two months after each patient underwent CPAP therapy. The volume and color of patients’ faces was analyzed using computer software and the “before” and “after” photos of each patient were also rated for measures of attractiveness by 22 volunteers.

Overall, 68 percent of ratings indicated that patients looked more alert after treatment, 67 percent noted that they appeared more attractive and 64 percent  characterized them as more youthful. Furthermore, the computer software analysis indicated a decrease in volume in the patients’ faces and less redness in the eyes and cheeks after undergoing CPAP therapy.

Researchers hope their study will encourage patients to receive treatment for sleep apnea – and stick with it.

"This may help convince patients to use their CPAP machines on a nightly basis," lead study author Dr. Ronald D. Chervin, of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Michigan, said.

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