Balance between OSA Treatment and Family

For OSA patients living with their spouse (meaning all domestic partners), CPAP treatment has a significant impact on the life of the couple.

Collateral burden of OSA to spouses
The impact of OSA extends beyond the individual patient.[1] Patients with OSA are likely to view their disorder as a burden for their spouses, and often report sleeping apart from them. Spouses frequently report disturbed sleep, which can be related to patients’ snoring, gasping, and sleep interruptions, as well as their own concerns with patients’ breathing abnormalities. In a study of 36 snoring men, half of the bed partners complained of disturbed sleep almost every night and 40% of them had to leave the bedroom weekly.[2] Even if the patient sleeps out of the bedroom for one night, no relief is obtained in the sleep of the partner, suggesting that previous night exposure still impairs sleep. Women living with snorers are three times as likely to report symptoms of insomnia compared to women living with non-snorers, suggesting that a sleep disorder in one spouse may increase risk for a sleep disorder in the other.[3] Adverse associations between OSA and marital satisfaction have been clearly demonstrated.[2]

Positive effects of CPAP therapy for both patients and their spouses
It is shown that after CPAP treatment both patients with OSA and their spouses decreased subjective sleepiness; improved social, emotional, and relationship functioning; and improved quality of life.[4][5]
There was a significant improvement in the spouse's sleep quality after the patient started CPAP therapy. It makes patients sleep well and a decrease in marital conflict with the bed partner after the first 3 months. There is no doubt that it is benefit to family relationship and other co-habitants. Besides, CPAP therapy can also improve sexual function to by reducing erectile dysfunction in men with OSA based on adequate sleep provided.
Tips for getting your loved one to adhere to CPAP treatment
1. View challenges as "our" problem and respond mutually to each other's stressors. [6][7]
2. Be patient with your partner
3. Discuss the health benefits of CPAP

For the sake of your health and your good relationship as a couple, be sure to insist on using the CPAP machine for OSA or urge your loved one to use it.

1. Ashtyani H, Hutter DA. Collateral damage: the effects of obstructive sleep apnea on bed partners. Chest. 2003;124:780–1.
2. Virkkula P, Bachour A, Hytonen M, Malmberg H, Salmi T, Maasilta P. Patient- and bed partner-reported symptoms, smoking, and nasal resistance in sleep-disordered breathing. Chest. 2005;128:2176–82.
3. Ulfberg J, Carter N, Talback M, Edling C. Adverse health effects among women living with heavy snorers. Health Care Women Int. 2000;21:81–90.
4. Parish JM, Lyng PJ. Quality of life in bed partners of patients with obstructive sleep apnea or hypopnea after treatment with continuous positive airway pressure. Chest. 2003;124:942–7.
5. Doherty LS, Kiely JL, Lawless G, McNicholas WT. Impact of nasal continuous positive airway pressure therapy on the quality of life of bed partners of patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Chest. 2003;124:2209–14.
6. Revenson TA, Kayser K, Bodenmann G. Couples coping with stress: Emerging perspectives on dyadic coping. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association; 2005.
7. Kayser K, Feldman B, Borstelmann N, Daniels A. Effects of a Randomized Couple-based Intervention on Quality of Life of Breast Cancer Patients and Their Partners. Soc Work Res. 2010;34:20–32.
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