Sleep apnea can complicate a variety of serious health problems including high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Weight gain is another problem that is associated with this sleep disorder. Most people are aware of the connection between obesity and sleep apnea, in that being overweight can make the disorder worse. What you may not know is that sleep apnea can also exacerbate weight gain.
Insufficient Sleep and Weight Gain
There is mounting evidence that just as being overweight can make sleep apnea worse, having sleep apnea can lead to increased weight. What happens with this vicious cycle is that the appetite-suppressing hormone, leptin, is decreased with sleep deprivation. Conversely the appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, is increased. This increase in ghrelin may lead to cravings for calorie-dense foods. Apparently, insufficient sleep also leads to a decrease in fat loss during periods of calorie restriction.
This can be very discouraging for overweight individuals who suffer from sleep apnea and reduce their caloric intake hoping to lose weight. They try the diets but without success due to the problems created by their sleep deprivation.
In addition to these problems, patients with sleep apnea may also be more likely to put on extra pounds than other people with the same BMI who do not have sleep apnea. One study showed an increase of about 16 pounds for people with sleep apnea in the year leading up to their diagnoses compared to those patients who had the same BMI but did not have sleep apnea.
Weight Loss and OSA
Treating your sleep apnea will help with many of the ills associated with the disorder. Along with that, losing weight will eventually help alleviate OSA symptoms. Losing weight can reduce the fatty deposits in the tongue and neck. This will help with the air flow during sleep. When abdominal fat is reduced, more lung capacity is created, which improves airway traction. The increased volume of the lungs helps the airway stay open during sleep.
Other symptoms of OSA such as daytime sleepiness, irritability and other neuropsychiatric conditions can also be improved. Even a 5% loss of weight can improve your health. A 10-15% weight loss can reduce the severity of your sleep apnea condition by as much as 50%.
Atlanta Sleep Apnea Treatment Center will work with you to overcome your OSA problems. We offer treatment for all levels of sleep apnea. Contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment.
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