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CPAP Machine Improves Gulf War Illness Symptoms for Some
by Lourdes Salvador
New research suggests that nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may greatly improve and alleviate the symptoms in veterans with Gulf War illness (GWI) and sleep disordered breathing (SDB).
CPAP is a form of breathing therapy which is primarily used in patients with sleep apnea. A CPAP machine delivers a steady supply of compressed air through a mask and hose in order to keep the airway open and improve breathing.
Over one-third of Gulf War Veterans developed Gulf War Illness, which is believed to be a form of toxic poisoning from vaccinations and/or Sarin nerve gas exposure. Symptoms include gastrointestinal distress, confusion, neurological problems, mood swings, fatigue, and chronic pain.
Over 30% of Veterans on CPAP experienced improvements in pain, fatigue, cognitive function, sleep quality, and overall physical/mental health. This suggests that breathing difficulties worsen the symptoms of Gulf War Illness in some Veterans.
There are some side effects of CPAP use, including nightmares, dry nose, sore throat, congestion, sneezing, runny nose, and irritation. Abdominal bloating has also been reported.
The machine is noisy to operate and may disrupt sleep and relaxation for some.
It is unclear why CPAP improved the symptoms of Veterans or why only 1/3rd experienced this improvement. It is plausible that CPAP corrects co-existing breathing disorders unrelated to Gulf War Illness.
Prior studies on subjects with the civilian version of Gulf War Illness known as multiple chemical sensitivity have shown reduced blood flow to the brain, thus reduced oxygenation.
CPAP may act to increase oxygen availability through improved respiration.
CPAP may be promising for some and provide better management of Gulf War Illness and related toxic poisoning through symptom reduction.
Amin MM, Gold MS, Broderick JE, Gold AR. The effect of nasal continuous positive airway pressure on the symptoms of Gulf War illness. Sleep Breath. 2010 Aug 19. [Epub ahead of print]
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2010 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America
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