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How Does Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain

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How Sleep Apnea Works

How Lack Of Sleep And Sleep Apnea Can Cause Weight Gain

Sleep apnea refers to a condition in which the upper airway is partially or completed obstructed while you sleep.

The tissues in the area of the mouth and throat the tongue, tonsils, uvula, even the fat pads that line the neck are to blame for these obstructions, either because they are overlarge or swollen. Fatty areas also retain fluids in the body.

Any or all of these tissues can block the airway, which is already relaxed because you are asleep. Pauses in breathing that last at least ten seconds are considered apneas.

Apneas generally result in arousals so that your body can consciously breathe. Someone with sleep apnea wakes up dozens of times over the course of the night. Whats worse, patients with untreated OSA face a vicious cycle of events that perpetuate problems with weight management.

  • Their sleep apnea leads to sleep deprivation.
  • Sleep deprivation leads to daytime fatigue and sleepiness as well as unhealthy food cravings.
  • Daytime fatigue and sleepiness leads to low energy, sedentary living, and less exercise.
  • Less exercise slows metabolism, making weight loss difficult.

It makes sense, then, that weight gain can lead to developing sleep apnea. However, the reverse cause-and-effect also occurs: Sleep apnea, it turns out, is one of the most dangerous side effects of obesity, if left untreated.

Does Losing Weight Reduce Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea and weight control can be a vicious cycle without proper treatment.

Since sleep apnea leads to weight gain, its best to treat sleep apnea first. If you can get your sleep apnea under control, you can take steps to lose weight, which will, in turn, improve your symptoms.

Losing even 10% of your excess weight can produce a 20% decrease in sleep apnea symptoms, so it is worth losing the weight.

Sleep Apnea Causes Metabolic Syndrome

In some individuals, even physiologic changes occur, and this can cause metabolic disorders. Calorie intake increases during the day because of poor food choices, but not being able to exercise limits as to where those calories can get expelled.

Studies have shown that blood glucose levels, as well as insulin, go higher after sleep deprivation. Blood measurements show up as metabolic syndrome in our bodies. Insulin is an important hormone that allows blood to enter the body cells to be turned into energy. If our calorie intake is more than what we need, then the insulin will turn that into fat. The reason this happens is that centuries ago, the human body had to survive on limited food, but thats not the case now.

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Understanding Sleep Apnea And Weight Gain

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which people experience disrupted breathing patterns in their sleep. In the most common type of sleep apnea , the disrupted breathing happens when the upper airway becomes blocked. People who suffer from OSA experience at least thirty breathing disruptions every night.

As experts learn more about sleep apnea, many found a connection to excess body weight, along with other health risks. Subsequently, insufficient sleep also leads to weight gain, making it a cycle of unhealthy cause and effect.

Does Weight Loss Aid In Sleep Apnea

How to get rid of sleep apnea headaches, sleep and weight ...

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea. It is a disorder in which people experience disrupted breathing during their sleep, at times 30 times an hour or more, because of a blocked airway.

OSA patients also have an increased risk of developing other health conditions, including stroke and high blood pressure.

But as the scientific community learns more about the sleep disorder, mounting evidence has been establishing an important link between excess weight and sleep apnea. And considering how an estimated 60 to 90% of people who suffer from sleep apnea are overweight or obese, this evidence may explain why excess weight is also considered a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea.

That said:

Its not surprising that an increasing number of studies also show that weight loss decreases the severity of sleep apnea. And in many cases, it does not only reduce its severity, it may also help in improving the quality of an OSA patients sleep.

And just like with many diseases, lifestyle modifications can also provide a number of improvements in OSA. For instance, weight loss can reduce fat deposits in the neck, which can restrict airflow by blocking a patients upper airway.

Losing weight can also reduce abdominal fat, which in turn improves your lung capacity, and may decrease pauses in breathing that often happens in sleep apnea.

In fact:

That said:

Patients may still need other therapies to treat sleep apnea, even after losing weight.

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Is Weight Gain Related To Sleep Apnea

Have you recently been told you snore loudly? Do you feel lately like you wake up every morning still feeling tired? Have you put on more than a few pounds over the last several months, but you cant figure out why? Do you want to exercise but cant seem to find the energy to do it? If this sounds like you, then you may have sleep apnea.

Treatment Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Treatment for OSA begins with getting a proper diagnosis. Simply being overweight and feeling lethargic during the day is not a guarantee that you have OSA. Snoring, especially if it follows a certain pattern associated with OSA, can be an indication your airway is being obstructed. Talking to your doctor, and possibly getting referred to a sleep study clinic, can take the guesswork out of a possible diagnosis. Once you have been diagnosed with OSA, your treatment will almost certainly involve at least testing out a CPAP machine to see if that can alleviate your symptoms while a longer-term solution is put in place.

If it turns out your sleep apnea is related to being overweight, losing pounds will become a high priority. Dropping weight to stop snoring may not sound like a life-or-death endeavor, but it is important to remember the very real risks of cardiovascular disease associated with OSA. Making sure you get an effective, long-term weight loss solution in place is going to be essential to helping ease the symptoms of your OSA.

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Sleep Disorders And Weight Gain

Are you eating well and exercising, but still struggling to shed weight? One possible reason may be that you’re not getting enough sleep.

A growing body of research is finding a link between sleep disorders and weight gain. And it can be a vicious cycle. Insufficient sleep can lead to weight gain, which can lead to a serious problem called sleep apnea, which produces more sleep deprivation and more packing on of the pounds. What to do? Here are solutions.

Sleep disorders can lead to weight gain, or make losing weight a real challenge.

While reviewing stacks of medical records from incoming guests several years ago, the physicians at the Pritikin Longevity Center noticed something peculiar.

A whopping 80% of guests reported that they had trouble getting a good nights sleep. Not surprisingly, many also complained of problems caused by sleep loss, such as daytime fatigue, irritability, headaches, and foggy thinking.

Many were also overweight.

If you dont sleep well, you cant get well.

And being sleep-deprived can make it difficult to shed excess weight.

Can Cpap Make You Gain Weight

Sleep and WEIGHT GAIN! (Hunger Hormones Leptin and Ghrelin Explained)

Scanning through my daily schedule of patients, I noticed Mr. Johnson was on the schedule. I have been following him for over 10 years since diagnosing and prescribing CPAP for his severe obstructive sleep apnea. I last saw him 3 years ago. He was faithful in using his CPAP 100% of the time, and his adherence numbers were perfect, with an average AHI of 1, minimal leaks, and being used 8-9 hours every night. As I entered the exam room and greeted him, I was shocked to see how much weight he had gained over the past few years.

One of the basic tenets of sleep medicine is that poor sleep leads to weight gain. It naturally follows that sleeping better with CPAP will lead to weight loss. Its not uncommon to see patients losing weight after sleeping better with CPAP, dental appliances or even after surgery. However, I had seen a few studies over the years showing that a small proportion of people using CPAP may gain some weight, but what I discovered over the past few weeks studying basal metabolic rates and weight loss in relation to CPAP was surprising.

It turns out that overall, CPAP use has been found to increase weight significantly, in proportion to how long you use CPAP. The more hours you use CPAP every night and the more number of years, the higher the amount of cumulative weight gain.

  • In another study, overall BMI did not increase in CPAP compliant patients after one year, but women and non-obese subjects did gain significant weight.

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Osa Sleep Deprivation And Metabolic Dysregulation

Several cardiometabolic alterations have been associated with OSA, independent of obesity and other potential confounders. Among the most important are glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, which are risk factors for the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease., Moreover, OSA has been associated with a heightened systemic inflammatory state, as shown by increases in cytokines,, serum amyloid A, and, in some but not all studies, C-reactive protein., Subjects with OSA who received effective treatment with CPAP have shown improvement in some of these metabolic and inflammatory abnormalities.,

Systemic inflammation has also been described in subjects with short sleep duration. Population studies show a dose-response relationship between self-reported short sleep duration and increased body weight, suggesting that sleep duration may be an important regulator of body weight and metabolic and endocrine function. These close interactions between obesity, sleep deprivation, and OSA share the common pathophysiologic feature of metabolic dysregulation. Weight loss may improve all of these conditions and might constitute an important potential intervention for these patients. In fact, studies assessing changes in sleep architecture after weight loss achieved through bariatric surgery suggest that, 1 year later, there are significant increases in rapid eye movement and slow-wave sleep, with reduced daytime sleepiness.

The Link Between Cpap And Weight Loss

An interesting study published by the New England Journal of Medicine used real and sham CPAP therapies to study how CPAP therapy affects weight and abdominal circumference .

The study randomly assigned 86 CPAP users to 3 months of CPAP therapy followed by 3 months of sham CPAP therapy, or vice versa. The results showed a significant BMI decrease in CPAP users compared with sham therapy users and a reversal of metabolic syndrome among some users.1

CPAP treatment was also associated with small but clinically significant mean decreases in blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

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Dangers Of Sleep Apnea Associated With Weight Gain

Sleep apnea and weight gain co-exist in a spiral.

Most people gain weight everywhere in their body, including their neck, further narrowing airways during sleep. The narrower the airway, the worse the obstructive sleep apnea becomes.

Weight gain and sleep apnea are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

How Excess Weight Contributes To Sleep Apnea

Does sleep apnea cause weight gain

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when something physically blocks your airways during sleep, leading to short pauses in breathing. Usually, the obstruction is caused by the relaxation of your throat and neck muscles, and if youre overweight, excess fat deposits may further narrow your airway. Not everyone who has obstructive sleep apnea is overweight, but many, if not most, are.

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Can Sleep Apnea Cause You To Gain Weight

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Lack of a good nights sleep can affect us all. You get up in the morning, head out to the office with plenty to do but find yourself half-awake throughout the day. When youre not performing at your best its easy to reach for those energy boosting bad foods the bag of crisps, a can of coke, a chocolate bar.

How Untreated Sleep Apnea Can Lead To Obesity

Sleep apnea and obesity together share common health risks that should not be ignored. Both contribute to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic health conditions. And sleep apnea leads to sleep deprivation, which may be the way it connects the dots with so many other chronic health problems.

Sleep apnea can lead to obesity because of sleep deprivation. Chronic poor, insufficient sleep leads to chemistry imbalances that make it difficult for the body to maintain a healthy metabolism. Even 30 minutes of lost sleep every night can compromise your metabolism, which is critical to balancing key hormones related to weight management: insulin to balance blood sugar, and two appetite regulators, leptin and ghrelin.

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Weight Gain Can Increase Your Chances Of Sleep Apnea

Additionally, being obese can put you at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea.

âAs the body gains weight, more tissue can be found on or around the throat. This makes apnea events more common. Because the extra weight makes it more likely, the tissues in the soft palate will collapse, causing an apnea event,â Chadwick Denman, DDS, a sleep specialist at Sleep Cycle Center, tells WebMD Connect to Care.

According to a 2017 article published in Anesthesia and Analgesia, weight gain can cause an increase in fat distribution in the neck and waist specifically, which can subsequently contribute to the development of sleep apnea. In addition, Mayo Clinic observes that an increased neck circumference can narrow the airway, which can cause snoring and sleep apnea.

How Sleep Apnea Can Lead To Excessive Body Weight

Can Sleep Problems Cause Weight Gain
  • Research shows that people with sleep apnea tend to have more stress, anxiety, and depression, craving comfort foods .
  • Sleep apnea sufferers often feel fatigued, making it harder to exercise and perform daily tasks. That leads to a less active lifestyle . Also, people who sleep less than six hours a night are four times as likely to develop type 2 diabetes , making it harder for people to achieve weight loss.
  • When breathing stops for 10 seconds or more during sleep deprivation, oxygen levels in the blood go down. This lowers the cells energy to perform normal functions, making you feel tired or lethargic. .
  • When breathing is stopped for 10 seconds, carbon dioxide levels rise, similar to what an air bubble may do when it unintentionally enters your bloodstream. This causes symptoms similar to intoxication such as lack of coordination, poor decision making, feeling dizzy or sleepy, slurred speech, memory loss, and difficulties with thinking clearly.
  • This makes people with obstructive sleep apnea more likely to become overweight or obese because they get less quality sleep at night or feel tired due to lack of sleep during the day. It also makes people crave sugary treats for energy instead of healthy meals, leading you to develop type 2 diabetes. In addition, sleep apnea increases your risk for heart attack, high blood pressure, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases that can be fatal.
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    Why Does Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain

    A lot of people tend to underestimate the importance of getting enough healthy sleep. Not only does adequate sleep keep you feeling well-rested, but it also allows your body the time to recover and repair itself. Most people may need approximately eight to nine hours of sleep each night, which can seem like a lot of time especially in todays busy world.

    If youve been diagnosed with sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, you may be prone to more than just excess fatigue, you could also be gaining weight. 1 Here are a few reasons why your sleep apnea may be causing your weight gain.

    How Weight Affects Sleep Apnea is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

      Sleep apnea is a relatively common disorder in which people experience disrupted breathing while they are sleeping. In obstructive sleep apnea , the most common type of sleep apnea, disruptive breathing occurs because of a narrow or blocked upper airway. Its similar to breathing through a straw. Those with severe OSA may have upwards of 30 breathing disruptions per night.

      As the medical community learns more about sleep apnea, several important links to excess body weight are emerging. Not only can excess weight cause sleep apnea, but it can worsen the symptoms and exacerbate its detrimental health effects. Insufficient sleep may also lead to weight gain, making it a vicious cycle. Encouragingly, many studies show that weight loss improves sleep apnea. If you are struggling with sleep apnea or excess weight, its important to understand the complex interactions between the two conditions.

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      Weight Gain And Sleep Apnea: How 2 Patients Beat The Vicious Cycle

      Mark’s apnea all but disappeared with the help of weight lifting and biking.Being overweight or obese is one of the main risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea, but the connection doesn’t stop there. Most sleep apnea patients carry at least a few extra pounds, and doctors stress diet and exercise as part of their treatment, but getting back to a healthy weight can be difficult.

      Gaining weight can bring on sleep apnea After the birth of his daughter and a hectic year of studying for the California bar exam, Mark Yanis let exercise and nutrition fall by the wayside. Soon he had gained about 20 pounds, always felt run-down, and was having trouble sleeping through the night.

      Mark before his weight loss.”My body was jolting me awake and I was starving for air,” says Yanis, 49, of Huntington Beach, Calif. He snored so loudly that his wife often slept in another room. He had trouble moving around and catching his breath, and was tired all the time.

      Eventually Yanis was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. Doctors told him that his high tongue and narrow airways were part of the problem and, at 5’10” and 220 pounds, that the extra weight he was carrying brought it to the surface.

      Overweight sleep apnea patients usually know that the extra pounds they carry are contributing to their problem, but with barely enough energy to stay awake even during simple conversation, exercise can seem like a foreign concept.

      Apnea and Obesity

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