Sleep apnea CPAP mask reduces hypertension risk, studies suggest

A man sleeps wearing a CPAP mask, which is used to treat sleep apnea.istockphoto (CBS News) Two new studies suggest people who use a CPAP machine for sleep apnea might have an added benefit - a reduced risk for hypertension and heart disease.Sleep apnea CPAP treatment may lower heart disease, diabetes riskPeople with severe sleep apnea five times more likely to die from cancer, study showsSnoring, mouth-breathing tots more likely to develop behavioral problemsSleep apnea is a common but serious disorder in which a person's breathing at night frequently stops or gets very shallow, with pauses that can last up to 20 seconds or more.The most common form of the condition is obstructive sleep apnea, when a person's relaxed throat muscles obstruct their airway. The condition affects an estimated 3 to 7 percent of the general population. People with obstructive sleep apnea often snore loudly, and the sudden drops in oxygen from breathing pauses increase a person's risk for high blood pressure (hypertension), stroke, a heart attack and other cardiovascular conditions.The Mayo Clinic has more on sleep apnea.2012 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.