Can Sleep Apnea Be Cured
Can sleep apnea be cured? Is it hereditary? These are common questions raised by those who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or suspect they may have it. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a disorder in which your airway is blocked when you sleep, which interrupts breathing. OSA puts you at risk for many other health conditions, such as stroke and high blood pressure.
While lifestyle modifications like weight loss are emphasized, is there really a definitive cure for OSA? When people think of sleep apnea, they tend to think of CPAP therapy and CPAP machines. There is also a whole slew of alternatives to CPAP therapy that can help reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea. Its rare that sleep apnea resolves itself, but its possible in some cases such as in those involving weight loss and with some surgeries.
Generally speaking, any healthy lifestyle choice you make can aid in helping your sleep apnea symptoms get better and in some rarer cases even eliminate it altogether.
Asthma Secondary To Sleep Apnea
Asthma is a condition that affects a persons airways and makes it difficult for them to breathe. With asthma, the airways narrow and produce extra mucus. This can often interfere with daily life. Symptoms of asthma can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
- A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Research has indicated that people who have asthma are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea. This could be because both asthma and sleep apnea affect the upper and lower respiratory tracts. When the throat muscles are weakened due to asthma, there is a greater likelihood for the throat to collapse and create an obstruction of the airway.
Weight Loss Can Cure Mild Sleep Apnea
One study2 monitored the sleep quality of 72 overweight patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea . The patients changed to a low-calorie diet and received lifestyle counseling, which resulted in a significant decrease in their BMIs. After losing weight, the subjects mean number of apnea events per hour decreased significantly. Post weight-loss, the number of patients with sleep apnea decreased by 75%.
Additionally, the results of this study were maintained for a one-year follow-up.
The Impact Of Weight Loss On Sleep Apnea
Weight loss in those who are obese reduces the severity of OSA. In fact, about 30 to 40 percent of people who are able to achieve substantial weight loss may become cured of their OSA.
Weight loss may reduce soft tissue in the neck, making the oropharynx less compressible. The improvement in lung volumes accompanied by weight loss also favor enhancement of longitudinal traction on the upper airway, the so-called tracheal tug. Careful follow-up is needed because remissions in certain patients may not be permanent. Alcohol and other substances that reduce upper-airway tone or cause sedation or reduced responsiveness worsen OSA and should be prudently avoided.
The most important therapy for OSA in those who are obese is weight loss. Weight loss changes pharyngeal anatomy and decreases airway collapsibility by increasing the pharyngeal closing pressure. Several studies have reported a significant association between the extent of weight loss and reduction in the severity of OSA. And, the most impressive results of AHI improvement are from those who underwent bariatric surgery.
Randip Singh, MD, is a board-certified neurologist and sleep physician. He is actively involved in screening and managing sleep apnea in bariatric surgical patients and other patients with wide array of sleep disorders.
Hypothyroidism Secondary To Sleep Apnea
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient thyroid hormone. Symptoms can include:
- Heavy or irregular menstrual cycles
- Slowed heart rate
Hypothyroidism can cause changes to the upper airway, which can lead to or aggravate sleep apnea. As such, veterans can establish secondary service connection for hypothyroidism relating to sleep apnea.
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Low Energy And Chronic Fatigue
Even one night of poor sleep can leave people feeling like zombies shuffling through the day. So imagine the impact that monthsor even yearsof restless sleep can have on energy levels.
Similar to a phones Battery-Saver Mode, when experiencing lower energy levels, we conserve the little energy we have by performing only essential tasks and avoiding the non-essential ones . This can lead to eating unhealthy foods out of convenience and sitting still for longer periods of time.
Does Weight Affect Sleep Apnea
Why sleep apnea and weight loss are tied to each other?
Being overweight is one of the main risk factors for sleep apnea. Figures show that every second person with OSA are obese. So losing weight may well be the simplest way out of the problem.
Surprisingly the interaction between losing weight and sleep apnea works opposite ways too. If you experience OSA the quality of your sleep drops. Sleep is time when your hormonal system refreshes and balances its resources, including hunger hormones. They impact what and how we eat. When this balance is broken, people tend to eat more. Fatigue after poor sleep decreases physical activity during the day, making the situation worse.
Such sleep apnea effects on weight loss encourage complex approaches for treating OSA.
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Increased Cravings And Decreased Willpower
Lack of energy, slow metabolism, and hormone changes can create a perfect storm of weight-gain factors. Another one of those factors is that when were feeling tired, were much more likely to crave foods that give us a quick energy boost like those high in sugar and simple carbs.
Being exhausted also decreases our willpower, making it much harder to put effort into making healthy choices.
Q: Can Weight Loss Cure Sleep Apnea
A: The short answer is no. While there are several sleep apnea treatment options available, there is no cure. However, weight loss may help reduce sleep apnea symptoms for some people, but only if you have obstructive sleep apnea.
There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea , central sleep apnea , and mixed sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common, making up 84% of sleep apnea diagnoses. 2
In obstructive sleep apnea, you stop breathing because air stops flowing to the lungs due to a blockage. For some people, the weight of your neck narrows and blocks the airway during sleep. If that is the case, weight loss would have a positive effect on airway obstructions and airway collapsibility.
Before starting any weight loss program, talk with your doctor about your weight loss goals and what impact weight loss may have on your symptoms.
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Cpap For Treatment Of Sleep Apnea
A CPAP machine is typically the go-to treatment for how to get rid of sleep apnea. CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, is a machine that hooks to a hose and mask and is worn over the nose during sleep. The continuous pressure from the machine works to hold open your airway during sleep, allowing air to flow freely to prevent periods of apnea. In other words, it holds your airway open while you sleep so you can keep breathing.
The reason CPAP machines work so well is that generally, it is soft tissues in the neck, throat, and upper airway, along with the tongue, that relax during sleep and obstruct the airway. This obstruction is what causes you to stop breathing for several seconds or minutes while youre asleep. This type of sleep apnea is known as obstructive sleep apnea , and is the most common.
CPAP will not cure sleep apnea but can be an effective treatment if used properly.
Mental Health Conditions Secondary To Sleep Apnea
Anxiety and depression can interfere with a persons sleep patterns, as well as cause symptoms of hyperarousal or hypervigilance. As such, a veteran with anxiety and depression faces a higher risk of sleep apnea.
If a veteran is service-connected for anxiety or depression, they may be able to receive secondary service connection for their sleep apnea. Veterans may also receive secondary service connection for anxiety and depression if they are already service-connected for sleep apnea.
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What Is The Best Way To Sleep To Avoid Sleep Apnea
Sleep position. Typically, sleeping on your back makes sleep apnea worse, and sleeping on your side makes it better, Schulman says. That has to do with how and where weight falls on the airway. Sleeping on your back makes the tongue relax back further, and that tends to make sleep apnea worse, Singh adds.
Will Losing Weight Reduce Osa Symptoms
Without getting proper treatment for both your OSA and taking steps to maintain a healthy weight, a vicious cycle occurs. Weight gain can lead to sleep apnea, which can lead to weight gain, which makes sleep apnea worse, which leads to more weight gain and so on. And if youre balancing other health conditions at the same time, the cycle becomes harder to break.
On the positive side, this cycle can work both ways. Getting treatment for your OSA can improve your sleep quality, making it much easier to lose weight. And research has shown that losing even 10% of your weight can lead to a 20% drop in the severity of OSA symptoms.
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Sinusitis Secondary To Sleep Apnea
Sinusitis is a condition where a persons sinuses become swollen and inflamed for three months or longer, despite treatment. Symptoms of sinusitis often include:
- Nasal inflammation
Tinnitus is one of the most frequently claimed conditions for service connection. This is likely due to a variety of factors related to service, such as exposure to noise, possibility of traumatic brain injury, and exposure to explosive devices like IEDs.
Research has found that veterans who have chronic tinnitus also prevalently experience sleep apnea. As such, veterans who are service connected for tinnitus may be eligible for secondary service connection for sleep apnea, and vice-versa.
Other Conditions Linked Sleep Apnea
There are many conditions that have been linked to sleep apnea that veterans can receive benefits for through secondary service connection. Some of the following conditions can be secondary to sleep apnea, while others may be the primary condition to which sleep apnea is secondary.
- Allergic Rhinitis
Weight Loss Helps Sleep Apnea
Shedding Extra Pounds May Relieve or Even Cure Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms
A new study confirms that weight loss can significantly improve and potentially eliminate obstructive sleep apnea symptoms in obese people.
Researchers found that people with severe obstructive sleep apnea who lost the recommended amount of weight were three times more likely to experience a complete remission of sleep apnea symptoms compared with people who didnt lose weight.
“These results show that doctors as well as patients can expect a significant improvement in their sleep apnea with weight loss,” researcher Gary Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University, says in a news release. “And a reduction in sleep apnea has a number of benefits for overall health and well-being.”
Obstructive sleep apnea is most common in overweight and obese people. The sleep disorder causes loud snoring and sleep disruptions as a result of the airway becoming temporarily blocked during sleep. If untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
Although doctors have long advised overweight people with sleep apnea to lose at least 10% of their body weight to improve their condition, there has been little research to back up that advice.
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Continue Learning About Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Weight Gain
As you can see after reading this article, obstructive sleep apnea and weight gain are a perfect match. They complement and depend on each other in many ways. When you gain weight, some areas of your body seem to suffer more. Fat accumulates everywhere, including your neck. That, in turn, creates more pressure on throat tissues and obstructs normal breathing during sleep.
So, if youre overweight, be ready to develop sleep apnea. If you have OSA, be ready to gain weight.
Curing sleep apnea and losing weight should be done simultaneously. You can always monitor the quality of your sleep with the help of Goodsomnia Lab and find effective ways for OSA treatment with us.
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How Long Will It Take To Reverse Damage From Sleep Apnea
Although three months of CPAP therapy produced only limited improvements to damaged brain structures, 12 months of CPAP therapy led to an almost complete reversal of white matter abnormalities. Treatment also produced significant improvements in nearly all cognitive tests, mood, alertness and quality of life.
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.
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Is Sleep Apnea Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Best Of Molly Kimball
- Molly Kimball
Sleep is such an integral component to our overall health, quite possibly as important as diet and exercise.
Best of Molly Kimball: Nutrition columnist Molly Kimball will be on leave until Aug. 6. While she is away, we are revisiting some of her best-read and most popular columns published byNOLA.com| The Times-Picayune. Kimball, a registered dietitian, can be reached at. Follow her on,andand you can check out her weekly podcast just search Molly Kimball on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.
Theres no question that sleep is intricately tied to weight. How big a factor is it? Perpetual sleep deprivation can undermine weight loss efforts as significantly as adding a Big Mac to our regular daily diet.
Research is so strong for the case for sufficient sleep as a weight loss aid that as a nutritionist I look at sleep as the third element in the trifecta of factors that impact our weight, right alongside diet and exercise.
So it should be no surprise that sleep apnea a condition where people stop breathing during sleep, as often as 30 times or more per hour can negatively influence a persons weight.
The stats are striking.
An estimated 25 million Americans 26 percent of adults have some degree of sleep apnea, with about 1 in 30 suffering from sleep apnea severe enough to warrant treatment, said Dr. Stuart Busby, Department Chair of Ochsner Sleep Medicine.
Sleep apnea affects an estimated 45 percent of people who are obese.
Get Help With Your Sleep Apnea And Weight Gain
The bottom line is this: when it comes to sleep apnea and obesity, there is no one single treatment. The best approach is a whole body one. It looks at all factors contributing to both the sleep apnea and the weight gain. Because an obese person can develop sleep apnea, and a person with sleep apnea may become obese, maintaining a healthy diet and addressing the causes of both conditions is crucial.
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Va Service Connection For Sleep Apnea
Generally, to establish service connection, the veteran needs to submit three things to VA:
- A current diagnosis of sleep apnea, as confirmed by a sleep study
- An in-service event, injury, or illness and
- A medical nexus between their sleep apnea and the in-service event, injury, or illness.
Veterans can submit a claim for service connection on VA From 21-526EZ.
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 .
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