Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss

Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss

Sleep Apnea – What Is It?

Sleep apnea is a growing condition in the U.S. that is related to the obesity epidemic. Sleep apnea is a condition in which an individual’s airway becomes obstructed while sleeping. Sleep apnea is commonly noticed by a spouse due to loud snoring. Sleep apnea can also create a complete interruption of breathing, cardiac arrhythmias, and low blood oxygen levels in the body. Those with sleep apnea are unaware that the lack of breathing will promote nighttime awakening which prevents comprehensive restorative sleep.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Common symptoms of sleep apnea are fatigue, moodiness, morning headaches, and the ability to fall asleep anywhere — including while a person is driving. There is a strong relation between obesity and sleep apnea due to enlarged tonsils and tongue as well as increased fat tissue in the neck which compresses the throat — making it harder to breathe.

Evaluation & Treatment

Sleep studies can be performed at a sleep lab to determine if you suffer from sleep apnea. A sleep study requires the patient to spend the night sleeping under observation while oxygen saturation monitors and apnea monitors are put in place to monitor sleep structure. If determined that a patient suffers from sleep apnea, treatment involves CPAP therapy — the patient wears a mask apparatus at night which helps to prop open the airway with positive air pressure. If you’re having symptoms of sleep apnea, contact your doctor to discuss setting up a sleep study.

It is also important to focus on a regimen of healthy eating, weight loss, and exercise to improve sleep apnea conditions. Individuals who are able to shed just 10 pounds see less sleep disruption, decreased snoring, and feel more awake during the day. Losing weight decreases the amount of fat tissue around your throat and nasal cavity when you are laying down, which allows you to breathe better while sleeping. Improved sleep allows an individual to spend more time in slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement cycles, which are two of the deepest and most important stages of sleep.

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