Sleep apnea is a severe sleeping disorder that disrupts breathing while a person is sleeping. This disruption can be due to a number of reasons which include abnormal growth of tissues or muscles in the airways, hyperactivity of the autonomic system or obesity. If not treated beforehand it can definitely lead to fatal consequences as the required amount of oxygen does not reach the brain.
Sleep Apnea and Obesity – Is there a connection?
- According to a study, it has been found that majority of the sleep apnea cases are caused due to the patients being obese or overweight. It has been proved that almost up to 20% of them were cured of the disorder after undergoing an extensive weight loss program. Majority of these patients also reported that while weight loss might not have cured the disorder completely, it helped in decreasing the severity of it.
- Pregnant women are highly prone to sleep apnea as they gain weight right at the beginning of the third trimester.
- It is noted that people who are obese do not exercise often which is a leading cause in developing sleep apnea. Hence, fitness is also important while controlling and maintaining weight.
The Link – What is the connection?
When a person is overweight or obese, the body accumulatesextra mass around the neck and the throat. There is also a likely chance of mass being accumulated around the veins and arteries. Once this mass gets accumulated, it tends to squeeze the arteries closer, restricting the passage way for the blood to flow.
Often fat and cholesterol tends to get accumulated around the throat and the neck, which is why the airway through which you breathe gets squeezed and narrowed down. The movement of air in and out of the throat gets highly restricted due to this accumulation.
Treatment – Possible Cures for Obesity and Sleep Apnea
There are also times when this airway gets blocked completely and in such cases CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) andBiPAP(Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure) treatment are recommended. In severe cases, surgeries are also recommended to help patients lose their body mass but the success rate is comparatively low and puts the patient at a higher risk.Moreover, these surgeries are often very painful and the recovery time could last up to weeks. Surgery for weight loss is an option which should be chosen only under severe conditions and under strict guidance of your physician.
Change in Lifestyle – Mandatory for Improvement
Weight loss treatment has proven to be the most beneficial treatment amongst the rest. One must make sure that he/she in takes a healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals. Patients are also advised to exercise daily and try to keep themselves as fit as possible. There are several exercises also that are recommended for sleep apnea which have over time turned out to be very helpful to cure or reduce the severity of the disorder. These lifestyle changes must be deemed serious and stuck to with determination and hard work.