Purpose: The aim of the study was to assess the effect of breathing and physical exercise on pulmonary functions, apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), and quality of life in patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).
Methods: Twenty patients with mild to moderate OSAS were included in the study either as exercise or control group. The control group did not receive any treatment, whereas the exercise group received exercise training. Exercise program consisting of breathing and aerobic exercises was applied for 1.5 h 3 days weekly for 12 weeks. Two groups were assessed through clinical and laboratory measurements after 12 weeks. In the evaluations, bicycle ergometer test was used for exercise capacity, pulmonary function test, maximal inspiratory-expiratory pressure for pulmonary functions, polysomnography for AHI, sleep parameters, Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ), Short Form-36 (SF-36) for quality of sleep and health-related quality of health, Epworth Sleepiness Scale for daytime sleepiness, and anthropometric measurements for anthropometric characteristics.
Results: In the control group, the outcomes prior to and following 12-weeks follow-up period were found to be similar. In the exercise group, no change was found in the anthropometric and respiratory measurements (P > 0.05), whereas significant improvements were found in exercise capacity, AHI, and FOSQ and SF-36 (P < 0.05). After the follow-up period, it was shown that improvement in the experimental group did not lead to a statistically significant difference between the two groups (P > 0.05).
Conclusions: Exercise appears not to change anthropometric characteristics and respiratory functions while it improves AHI, health-related quality of life, quality of sleep, and exercise capacity in the patients with mild to moderate OSAS.