Sleep Apnea & Weight
The Battle of Sleep Apnea & Obesity
In America, the majority of our population is constantly battling with their weight. It’s a challenging aspect of your lives that seems to rarely bring pleasure. Being overweight is not easy and can take months or even years to shed off the extra pounds. For people who also suffer from sleep apnea, weight loss is even more difficult to overcome.
Obesity is a key risk factor for sleep apnea as it can negatively affect the quality of your sleep and interrupt your ability to breathe properly at night. Weight problems can also heighten your chances for other health issues associated with sleep apnea like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Sleep apnea and the use of a CPAP mask have also been found to make a person gain weight. There was an average increase in CPAP users’ body-mass index due to their lack of sleep and low energy.
Committing to Weight Loss
Weight loss isn’t a simple change that will happen overnight. It takes patience, dedication, and time to reach your goals and it’s always important to never give up because you’re not seeing results right away.
For our patients who are obese, we will always recommend that they alter different parts of their lifestyle and find ways to lose weight and live a healthier life. Studies have found a vast improvement in sleep apnea symptoms over time when people committed to living a more active life and followed a balanced diet.
See Which Workouts You Enjoy
Working out isn’t always fun, especially if you feel uncomfortable when you’re surrounded by fit people at the gym. A consistent exercise habit is a great way to help you regain your confidence, lose weight, give you the energy to improve, and can even help you sleep better.
Luckily there are plenty of enjoyable workouts that don’t always need to be completed at the gym. If you want to commit to exercising every day, but want to have fun and be more motivated as well, then try out one of these simple workouts:
- Jog on the beach
- Practice with a personal trainer
- Play your favorite sport
- Go on a hike
Stick to a Balanced Diet
Weight loss doesn’t only comprise of working out, eating nutritious foods is also extremely important. In one study, researchers found that an easy diet like the Mediterranean diet can be all it takes to improve the symptoms of sleep apnea. Essentially, the combination of simple lifestyle changes and weight loss are key to alleviating your snoring and sleep apnea.
Food plans like the Mediterranean diet include a total balance of all food groups– meats, dairy, fish, fruits, oils, vegetables, and grains. Once you find a suitable diet to follow that you know you’ll be capable of sticking to, along with consistently working out, you’ll soon see an improvement in your weight overall.
It’s crucial to remember that you shouldn’t be forcing yourself to eat foods that you absolutely hate because then you most likely won’t stick with them. Always listen to your body and act accordingly so you can see the results you’ve been longing for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can weight loss cure sleep apnea?
While weight loss can greatly improve your sleep apnea symptoms, most sleep apnea cases aren’t permanently curable. However, losing weight has been shown to reduce symptoms for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OSA causes patients to stop breathing during sleep due to an obstructed airway. In some cases, the weight of your neck narrows and blocks the airway. As a result, losing weight can help clear your airway and significantly improve your symptoms.
Can people who aren’t overweight suffer from sleep apnea?
Yes. While being overweight is a common underlying cause of sleep apnea, people of all sizes and ages can develop this sleep disorder. That’s why it’s important to take note of any sleep apnea symptoms you’re experiencing and undergo a sleep test if you think you may have a sleep disorder.
Sleep apnea is influenced by many other factors besides weight. For example, a larger neck circumference or smaller airway due to an anatomical development can be the cause of your breathing problems. Maintaining a healthy body weight won’t guarantee that you don’t develop sleep apnea, but it should help you manage your symptoms.