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Is Losing Weight the Best Sleep Apnea Treatment?

Being fed up by your sleep apnea can lead you to try anything for some improvement, but one thing most people don’t know is that losing weight can often be a pretty effective sleep apnea treatment on its own.

It isn’t obvious but you’d be shocked at how dropping a few pounds can catch you a few more Z’s.

Pulling your weight

An unfortunate downside to all the progress and great strides we’ve made as a civilization is how lazy it’s made us.  There’s no two ways about it: we’re a culture of convenience.  Our sedentary lifestyles mean that we don’t work as hard for simple things and end up gaining weight.  Unfortunately obesity is increasingly being linked to obstructive sleep apnea.

As you gain weight, the soft tissue in your mouth and throat gets heavier.  One of the ways to gauge whether your weight is related to your sleep apnea is measuring neck circumference.  But why is that a big deal?

Well, if the tissues in your mouth and throat get heavier they’re liable to cause an obstruction.  When you sleep, these muscles all relax and tissue droops, blocking airways.  This makes you wake up for an instant causing the muscles to tighten.  You barely process this, fall back asleep, rinse and repeat.

Grains in the hourglass

It isn’t as simple as weight bad, sleep good.  There’s a bit of a vicious cycle that you risk falling in to by becoming obese.  In many cases, especially extreme ones, sleep deprivation has been shown to make weight loss difficult.

Intermittent sleep, especially the kind caused by sleep apnea causes your hormone levels to fluctuate wildly.  Not being able to sleep can cause some pretty intense physical reactions preventing weight loss including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Fluctuating insulin resistance
  • Glucose intolerance
  • Pickwickian syndrome

Once you’ve reached a certain point, getting back to a healthy BMI (body mass index) becomes a lot tougher.  Addressing the sleep apnea will at least get your hormone levels stable so that you can start to think about how to get back to a healthy weight.

Tipping the scales

The link between sleep apnea and obesity has been studied extensively.  After a year, a group of diabetic adults who received a weight loss program and diet lost an average of 24 pounds.  These same adults were three times as lucky to have a remission in sleep apnea symptoms!

While a CPAP machine may not make you shed the pounds, it normalizes you enough to start making changes without your body falling apart.  Seeking sleep apnea treatment and combining it with healthier living and a conscious effort to lower weight has the potential to reduce your symptoms.

Do You Need a Sinus Doctor to Help You Sleep Again?

Getting enough sleep is vital for everyone.  Without allowing your body to rest and recharge, you’re not able to properly function to your full potential during the day.  More importantly, a lack of sleep can be dangerous. Therefore, if you’re suffering from debilitating snoring or think you may have sleep apnea, we can help.  Contact us or fill out our assessment form at the right, and start sleeping better!