Can Losing Weight Cure Sleep Apnea?
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Have you been waking up with headaches in the morning? Do you constantly feel exhausted even when you thought you were getting a great night of rest? If so, you may be suffering from a condition known as sleep apnea. Your partner may have also noticed the signs of this while you were asleep.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing periodically while you are asleep. The time that you stop breathing for can vary from a couple of minutes to a couple of seconds. While not typically life-threatening, sleep apnea can have a significant level of impact on your health and wellbeing. Indeed, studies show that issues such as heart attacks are far more common and prevalent for people who suffer from sleep apnea. You might be wondering whether there are any treatment options available for this condition. For instance, you could have heard that losing weight can cure or help sleep apnea. Is this true?
Sleep apnea and weight
According to research, there seems to be a significant correlation between obesity and sleep apnea. Indeed, you may be more likely to suffer from an issue like this if you are overweight. Although not every patient who is obese will suffer from sleep apnea. Similarly, not every sleep apnea patient will be overweight. That said, if you are overweight, you should consider getting a physical examination. This will determine whether weight loss could help you. Typically, this will include measuring the circumference of the neck. Generally speaking, a circumference of 17 inches or higher in men and 16 inches in women will lead to a far greater chance of sleep apnea.
Will it lead to a cure?
If you are overweight, it is possible that losing weight will be enough to cure the condition completely. However, this won’t always be the case because anatomical factors can come into play. For instance, a person could have a receded chin, a deviated nasal septum or prominent tonsils. All these issues may cause some level of sleep apnea and will not be corrected by significant levels of weight loss. That said, losing weight can have a variety of other benefits.
It can improve your joints, reduce issues with high blood pressure and provide a significant boost to your vitality. So, weight loss is certainly never going to be the wrong choice and definitely won’t make your sleep apnea worse. It can only make it better.
Is it more difficult to lose weight?
You might have heard reports that sleep apnea makes it more difficult to lose weight. This is due to the fact that it slows down your metabolism and in some cases, may mean that you won’t be able to lose weight at all. Research does suggest that this is the case. That’s why it’s essential to make sure that you are taking steps to control your sleep apnea before you start making commitments to try and lose weight. Your ENT will be able to help you with this option and ensure that you get the best possible chance at seeing results. There are a range of different treatment options for sleep apnea.
The most common is going to be CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. This is usually completed using a machine that can be set up close to your bed. Losing weight may be more difficult because of the pressure that the condition puts on your body. This includes insulin resistance, increases in blood pressure and glucose intolerance.
In some instances, an ENT may recommend surgery to ensure that it is easier for you to lose weight.
It’s worth noting that there are alternative ways to treat sleep apnea. For instance, you can invest in a device that allows you to breathe regularly and ensures that your breathing does not become stifled. Masks like this are electronic or work by a pump-based system and can be quite expensive.
Similarly, you can also consider opting for surgery. Be aware that this will only be an option for some individuals. It will depend on the cause of your sleep apnea and your specific situation. Your ENT will be able to recommend whether this is the right choice for you.
We hope this helps you understand more about sleep apnea and whether losing weight can be the right decision. If you are eager to learn more about treatment options, contact Mountain Ear, Nose & Throat Associates on Sylva: 828-586-7474, Franklin: 828-524-5599, Murphy: 828-835-1014 or New Asheville: 828-458-8100.