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Can Being Overweight Cause Sleep Apnea

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What Causes Sleep Apnea In Children

âï¸? How To Lose Weight With Sleep Apnea – Treatment First! Then Weight Loss.

When it comes to children, there are a few possible causes of obstructive sleep apnea. Some of the most common causes include enlarged tonsils and adenoids, as well as certain orthodontic conditions such as an overbite. Childhood obesity can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea, although the connection is less common than in adults.

Will Sleep Apnea Disappear If I Lose Weight

Weight loss can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea if its causes are due to obesity. In fact, obesity itself is the most treatable cause of sleep apnea, and weight loss not only improves this condition, but many others. Weight loss reverses the metabolic cycle for those who have a long-term, comprehensive plan.

A sleep apnea patient who loses as little at 5 percent of their body weight can expect to find some relief. Even greater weight loss may improve it to the point it disappears.

In one study, almost two thirds of patients showed improvements to their sleep apnea symptoms after following a calorie-restricted diet, so the odds are good that your effort to lose weight will result in healthy rewards like better breathing at night.

If weight loss is less than heroic from the start, dont give up: reduced weight, even by just a few pounds, means you might have more comfort using CPAP, with lower pressures that could make it easier to use more regularly. Regular use of CPAP can help restore the focus and energy you need during the day to keep working to lose those pounds.

Heres one easy way to informally track your progress in a weight-loss effort: measure your neckline. If men can reduce their measurement to less than 17 inches, thats a good thing. For women, 16 inches is the plateau to break.

How Weight Gain Can Cause Sleep Apnea

A person of healthy weight can gain pounds over a short period of time for any number of reasons: pregnancy, medications, sudden change in activity level caused by an injury, a radical shift to a less healthy diet. Some body types include extra weight around the neck which can be affected by weight gain.

As a person adds weight, they might find they dont sleep as well as they used to. They may get up several times a night to use the bathroom, or they might experience insomnia. Their sleeping partners may complain that they snore, though they didnt before. They may wake up with a sore throat or a headache. A trip to the doctor might reveal a spike in blood pressure.

Chances are good they have developed a case of sleep apnea.

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The Chicken Or The Egg

  • Giora Pillar, MD, PHD, and
  • Naim Shehadeh, MD,
  • 1Sleep Lab, Meyer Children’s Hospital, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  • 2Faculty of Medicine, TechnionIsrael Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
  • 3Pediatric Diabetes Unit, Meyer Children’s Hospital, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
  • Address correspondence and reprint requests to Giora Pillar, MD, PhD, Sleep Lab, Rambam Medical Center and Technion, Haifa 31096, Israel. E-mail:
    • Weight Loss As A Treatment Of Osa

      Sleep Apnea and Obesity

      Most studies assessing the effects of weight loss on OSA have had methodologic limitations, including lack of either randomization and/or a control group for comparisons, inadequate adjustment for potential confounders, and limited follow-up. Many of the more recent studies assessing weight loss on OSA severity and outcomes were in the context of bariatric surgery.

      In the second trial, Lam et al randomized 101 patients with mild-to-moderate OSA to one of three treatment groups: conservative measures alone or with the addition of CPAP or with the addition of oral appliances. All overweight subjects were referred to a weight-reduction class. After 10 weeks, all three groups of patients lost an average of 1.5 kg. Only CPAP therapy was associated with improvements in OSA severity, daytime sleepiness, and quality-of-life measures. Firm conclusions cannot be drawn from these two studies, but they do highlight the problems of recidivism and limited efficacy that may diminish the value of some weight-loss programs.

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      Can A Fitbit Or Other Fitness Tracker Detect Sleep Apnea

      While smart watches and fitness trackers with sleep apps are growing in popularity and sophistication, it is always advisable to talk to your healthcare provider if you think you may have sleep apnea. A sleep study in a sleep lab is still the most accurate way to diagnose sleep apnea. Some smart watches may have an internal sensor that records the wearers pulse wave, which is then used to calculate oxygen saturation and heart rate values. Newer devices, such as the FitBit Ionic, include an oxygen saturation sensor, which increases the accuracy of the data recorded. Smart watches and activity trackers can also detect movement during sleep, which can suggest the diagnosis of sleep apnea. As the technology becomes more advanced, these devices will likely be used more frequently to diagnose sleep apnea at home.

      Does Weight Loss Method Matter In Osa

      With several options for losing weight, many OSA patients want to know which one is best for sleep apnea. Some of the best weight loss methods include:

      • Dietary changes
      • Medications
      • Surgery

      Doctors usually prescribe dietary and exercise interventions as a first-line treatment for obesity. Obese patients who are unlikely or unable to achieve adequate weight loss through behavior modifications may consider pharmacological or surgical interventions. There is evidence that behavioral modification is just as effective as certain weight-loss surgeries in improving OSA. Encouragingly, exercise alone can modestly improve the severity of OSA, even without significant weight loss.

      Regardless of technique, OSA improvement is proportional to the amount of weight lost. Therefore, patients should discuss with their doctor which weight loss strategy is best-suited to their personal circumstances, overall health, and their OSA severity.

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      How Does Gaining Weight Affect Sleep Apnea

      Not everyone who is overweight or obese will develop sleep apnea. However, being overweight and/or gaining weight does increase your risk of developing the disorder.

      When the muscles in your neck relax during sleep, they no longer support the weight of the tissue on top of them. The more weight pressing down on the airway, the more likely it is to collapse. Because of this, people who carry a lot of weight around their neck and chest are at a much higher risk of OSA.

      If you gain even 10% of your weight your risk for developing sleep apnea gets multiplied by six.

      What Sleep Concerns Are Common In People Who Are Overweight

      Sleep apnea – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

      Many health conditions can affect sleep, and some of them are found more often in individuals who are overweight or obese. The presence of one or more of the following conditions can compound insomnia and other sleep issues caused by obesity:

      • Obstructive sleep apnea : OSA is a sleep disorder in which the airway partially or fully collapses, causing loud snoring and breathing issues at night. OSA is seven times more common in individuals who are obese. Weight not only affects ones risk for OSA, but being overweight can increase the severity of OSA symptoms.
      • Gastroesophageal reflux disease : GERD is a chronic condition in which the contents of the stomach leak into the esophagus, causing symptoms such as heartburn. Obesity is a known risk factor for GERD. Symptoms are often worse when lying down, and GERD may be associated with disturbed sleep.

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      Cpap Therapy May Still Be Needed To Treat Severe Sleep Apnea Even After Weight Loss

      Its important to remember that extra weight is not the only cause of sleep apnea. A small jaw, a large neck, large tonsils and adenoids, genetic predisposition, and other factors could be contributing to this sleep disorder. In all likelihood, a case of severe sleep apnea is caused by a combination of these factorsso weight loss alone may not completely eliminate the problem. CPAP therapy is the gold-standard therapy for sleep apnea and is the only treatment that is 100% effective when used properly every night .

      Does Cpap Help All Obese People

      On the other hand CPAP therapy can worsen the condition if there is high pressure in the body. In fact, some obese people abandon CPAP therapy all together due to high pressure, which can lead to decrease in their overall health.

      To manage this condition as an obese person, you must lose the excess weight to reduce pressure required to prevent tissues from collapsing into the airflow. Once the weight is reduced, the patient can use CPAP therapy to manage the condition better.

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      Is Excessive Weight The Only Cause Of Sleep Apnea

      Although it is easy to point out that excessive body weight is the main cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, there are other courses that includes the following:

      • Some children have upper airways that haveoversized organs such as tonsils and tongue when they are born.
      • Some people features high, narrow arches in thecavities that can create breathing problem while a sleep.
      • Miscommunication between the brain therespiratory system can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea.
      • Snoring may be a warning sign for OSA.

      Weight Gain Leads To Snoring And Sleep Apnea

      What is Sleep Apnea?

      In the world of sleep, the most recognized complication from being overweight or obese is disrupted breathing that leads to snoring and sleep apnea. The excessive fat that is present acts to insulate and pad your body. It is easy to recognize it when it leads to a large stomach, a fuller face, enhanced hips, or more prominent buttocks. However, it also hides in places that we cannot directly see, including along our airway and at the base of the tongue. This crowding, combined with added weight pressing from the outside such as increased neck size or the stomach reducing lung volumes, collapses the airway and causes problems.

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      Can Losing Weight Cure Sleep Apnea

      Treating sleep apnea, like treating many diseases, starts with lifestyle and behavioral modifications. For most OSA sufferers, this includes working toward a healthy body weight. Weight loss reduces fatty deposits in the neck and tongue which can contribute to restricted airflow. This also reduces abdominal fat, which in turn increases lung volume and improves airway traction, making the airway less likely to collapse during sleep.

      Losing weight can also significantly reduce many OSA related symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness. Irritability and other neuropsychiatric dysfunctions markedly improve as well. There is an overall improvement in cardiovascular health, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and in particular quality of life. Weight loss of just 10-15% can reduce the severity of OSA by 50% in moderately obese patients. Unfortunately, while weight loss can provide meaningful improvements in OSA, it usually does not lead to a complete cure, and many sleep apnea patients need additional therapies.

      Sleep Apnea And Weight

      Weight plays an important role in sleep apnea. If youre carrying extra weight, you may struggle to get a good nights sleep.

      Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which people stop breathing while they are sleeping. The most common type of sleep apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA.

      With OSA, a narrow or blocked upper airway causes an individual to stop breathing momentarily. If you are overweight, then it may be common to have a narrow or blocked upper airway.

      Imagine breathing through a straw. Thats what OSA feels like.

      Individuals with severe OSA can stop breathing as much as 30 times a night. If youre someone who gets eight hours of sleep, that means youre averaging almost four episodes an hour of disrupted breathing.

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      Does Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain

      Sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes breathing to start and stop repeatedly during sleep. Mayo Clinic notes that the most common type of the disorderâobstructive sleep apneaâoccurs when the muscles in the back of your neck relax in a way that constricts your airway and reduces oxygen intake, resulting in sleep interruptions. But sleep apnea doesnât only disturb your sleep cycle. It can also impact your ability to maintain a healthy weight.

      New Research Shows Sleep Apnea Treatment With Cpap Therapy May Help With Weight Loss

      Sleep Apnea Warning Signs & Best Treatments ð

      A recent study conducted at the University of Arkansas looked at the effects of CPAP sleep apnea treatment on weight loss. The study involved three groups: one non-sleep apnea group, one sleep apnea group who received CPAP, and one sleep apnea group who didnt receive CPAP. Everyone involved in the study was also obese at the beginning of the study.

      Each participant started on a weight loss program to help lose weight. This included restricting calories to 800 per day and an exercise program, as well as weekly counseling and cognitive behavior therapy. The researchers followed their progress over 16 weeks to determine the results.

      The CPAP therapy group lost an average of 5.7 pounds more than any other group. At the end of the study, the CPAP group lost an average of 26.7 pounds. The sleep apnea group who didnt receive sleep apnea treatment lost an average of 21 pounds and the non sleep apnea group lost an average of 19.

      Researchers in the study concluded that CPAP therapy was correlated with better weight loss on the weight loss program. They noted that this could be because CPAP may help improve sleep quality, which may have a major impact on weight management.

      In addition, other studies have found that sleep apnea treatment with CPAP can help reduce belly fat, also known as visceral fat, even without significant weight loss. Visceral fat is a concern because it increases your risk for serious conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

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      Sleep Apnea And Weight Gain: Reasons And Answers

      You may have noticed that were big fans of healthy weight management at Sound Sleep Health, and thats no coincidence: we know first-hand how untreated sleep apnea can lead to weight gain and how being overweight can contribute to sleep apnea.

      Research shows that up to 80 percent of sleep apnea sufferers are obese. But what about the 20 percent who arent obese? They also have sleep apnea. So which comes first Obesity or sleep apnea?

      Treatment Of Sleep Apnea

      After a diagnosis of SA, your physician may provide medical advice and recommendations to help you maintain a patent airway when you sleep. Treating sleep apnea diagnosed depends on the type, severity, and cause of the SA. Recommendations to treat SA include:

      Conservative treatment

      These include:

      • Healthy diet. Treating obstructive sleep apnea will involve including heart-healthy options in your diet, including fruits and vegetables. A healthy diet can help treat mild OSA.

      Foods that help prevent sleep apnea

      Mechanical therapies

      Positive Airway Pressure therapy

      This is the primary treatment option for patients with obstructive sleep apnea. It involves the use of breathing devices that force air through a mask that covers the nose and/or mouth to keep the airway open during sleep. The different types include:

      • CPAP . This is the most commonly known and used of the PAP devices. It is mostly used for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. The CPAP machine is set to deliver air at a pressure greater than the environmental air pressure and keep your airway patent. This prevents snoring and apnea.

      Sleep Apnea: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

      Others are Auto CPAP or Auto Bi-Level PAP that are self-regulated according to use.

      Oral devices or appliances

      mouth devices to treat sleep apnea

      • Tongue retaining devices. These are mouthpieces that hold the tongue in a specific position to prevent it from blocking the throat.


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      Why Does Obesity Cause Sleep Apnea

      Excess body weight contributes to sleep apnea by causing increased pressure on upper airways, leading to collapse and decreased neuromuscular control from the fatty deposits. These fatty deposits contribute to decreased lung volume and make it more difficult to breathe . Neck circumference, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio are also considerations when addressing overweight or obesity and suspecting sleep apnea. Neck circumference greater than 17 inches for men and 16 inches for women raise the risk of both obesity and sleep apnea. Waist measurements equal to or greater than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women also raise the risk factor. Waist-to-hip ratio can also be calculated to assess for additional risk equivalent. This ratio is determined by dividing the waist measurement by the hip measurement. The greater this ratio, the more significant the risk factors for sleep apnea and other obesity-related disorders.

      Learn Why Obesity Can Cause Obstructive Sleep Apnea

      Sleep Apnea

      There is a strong relationship between sleep apnea and obesity. The link is so strong that almost every obese person have at least one symptom of sleep apnea: lound and irregular snoring.

      Being overweight often contributes to snoring, since excess fat in the neck area reduces the width of the air passage.

      But why does almost every overweight person snore? And how much are the at risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea?

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      What Can I Do

      The number one thing to do if youre having sleep issues and trouble with weight gain is to consult a healthcare professional. Talking to your doctor about these issues is the first step towards regaining control over your health and identifying any underlying problems that may be causing your sleep disturbance. Here are some additional steps you can take to address these problems:

      Talk to your doctor about CPAP. Continuous positive airway pressure is a common method of treating the effects of obstructive sleep apnea. People suffering from OSA wear a face mask while sleeping. The face mask is connected to a mechanical pump that provides a flow of air into the nose or mouth, which keeps the airway open. This is one of the most effective and least invasive treatments for OSA, and most people who use it report immediate relief of sleep apnea symptoms and side effects.

      Exercise. Getting out and staying physically active has been shown to positively affect the quality and amount of sleep, regardless of how much you weigh. In people with obesity, an exercise plan coupled with a weight-loss diet may help to increase metabolism, lower insulin resistance, and decrease inflammation levels in the body. All of these things contribute to weight loss and ultimately, a better nights sleep. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any diet or exercise plan.

      For more information, see the resources below.

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