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Monday, January 10, 2011

Weight Loss and Sleep Apnea

 Rose knows there is an association between weight loss and sleep apnea.  Experts agree that losing 10% of your body weight will help reduce the airway obstruction that occurs when your muscles relax while you are sleeping.  If you are overweight the excess tissue on your throat will put more pressure on your airway passages which makes it easier for them to collapse and restrict your breathing once you fall asleep. 

Snoring not only keeps your partner awake and even wakes you up during the night it is a symptom of sleep apnea as it indicates your airways are partially collapsed and the air is struggling to pass though.  In some cases of sleep apnea the airway can be totally shut off and while your chest moves in effort to pull air in, none of it reaches your lungs.  Chronic sleep apnea can be very serious and can lead to death from heart attack or pulmonary hypertension.  In addition, you will be constantly tired which will make you prone to accidents due to slower reflexes.

Obesity is an underlying cause of sleep apnea and losing weight could correct the condition.  Studies at the Temple University found that obese patients who lost the recommended amount of weight were three times more likely to eliminate sleep apnea episodes compared to the patients that did not lose weight. By losing weight, many patients were able to totally reverse their sleep apnea, while those that did not lose weight continued to have episodes and in fact, their symptoms worsened overtime.  Doctors found that 10% of weight loss improves sleep apnea symptoms.  So, if you suffer from sleep apnea and are overweight don’t think you can’t lose enough weight to make a difference in your condition.  Even losing some weight can lessen the frequency of episodes and reduce the additional health issues caused by sleep apnea.

Weight loss is never an easy process, but it just a matter of burning off more calories than you consume each day.  A healthy diet limiting white flour and starch such as; rice, potatoes, white bread, corn and pasta and eating more vegetables and fruit will help you lose weight safely.  Plus if you exercise at least 2 – 3 times a week will help not only losing weight quicker but also is good for heart health which combats the effects of sleep apnea.

Another condition weight loss improves is type 2 diabetes.  There are many reasons you should lose weight, but if you have sleep apnea this should be one of your primary considerations as other methods only treat the symptoms and not correct the underlying cause.  If you snore you may not even know that it is a symptom of sleep apnea.  Other symptoms include headaches, irritability, excess daytime sleepiness and not being able to fall asleep easy. The best way to find out if you have sleep apnea is to go to a sleep clinic and take a sleep test which consists of an overnight stay so they can monitor your respiration, oxygen levels and cardiac status while you are sleeping. 

The content in Weight Loss and Sleep Apnea is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.