Playing a wind instrument could help lower the risk of sleep apnea

A new study has found that wind instrument players have a reduced risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea.

The findings, presented at the Sleep and Breathing Conference 2015, suggest that this could be considered beneficial to those individuals who are at high risk of developing sleep apnea.

Researchers in India conducted lung function testing in 64 people who played a wind instrument and compared results to a control group of 65 people who did not play any wind instruments. All participants also completed the Berlin questionnaire, an established method used to assess the risk of sleep apnea.

When analyzing the results of the questionnaires, the researchers found that the group who played the wind instruments had a lower risk of developing sleep apnea. However, no difference was seen between the two groups in the lung function tests.

The relative risk of developing sleep apnea based on the questionnaire was 0.18 in the wind instrument players, with a relative risk of less than one indicating a lower risk compared to controls. The researchers believe this is due to the increased muscle tone in the upper airways, which wind instrument players are likely to have.

Silas Daniel Raj, one of the authors of the study, commented: "The findings of our small study present an interesting theory on preventative measures or treatment in sleep apnea. If the findings are confirmed in larger groups, wind instrument playing could become a cheap and non-invasive method of preventing sleep apnea in those at risk of developing the condition."

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The above story is based on materials provided by European Respiratory Society (ERS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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European Respiratory Society (ERS). "Playing a wind instrument could help lower the risk of sleep apnea." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 April 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150416192555.htm>.