Shedding extra weight may improve the sleep of obese people (and their partners), with a research suggesting it even cures sleep apnea, according to a new study.
The work, appearing in the respected Archives of Internal Medicine, confirms that losing weight can significantly improve, perhaps even eliminate sleep apnea symptoms in obese patients.
Many people who have sleep apnea don’t even know it, though those who sleep with them probably do.
Partners often complain about loud snoring, as well as sounds like snorts or choking that go on through the night. The patient is asleep and doesn’t know, though they do deal with a constant daytime sleepiness that can affect work or school.
Since sleep apnea is most common in overweight or obese people, doctors often recommend that these patients lose at least 10% of their body weight. Of course weight loss is no easier for these patients than it is for the rest of us, though the new research offers solid support for this advice, and might give patients just the motivation they need to stick with their weight loss goals.
In this study, the subjects were 264 obese adults who had type 2 diabetes and were also dealing with symptoms of sleep apnea.
The participants were randomly assigned into either a weight loss program or a diabetes management program. The weight loss program involved portion-controlled diets and exercise for at least 175 minutes (or more) per week.
After one year, the weight loss group lost an average of 24 pounds; the diabetes management group dropped just about 1 pound.
Beyond the weight loss, the difference between the two groups also appeared in terms of their sleep apnea symptoms. In fact, the researchers found that those with severe sleep apnea who lost weight were three times more likely to have a complete remission of their symptoms as compared to those who didn’t lose weight.
What’s more, the weight loss group had about half the instances of severe sleep apnea as did the diabetes management group.
In fact, those in the management group experienced a worsening of their sleep apnea symptoms.
“These results show that doctors as well as patients can expect a significant improvement in their sleep apnea with weight loss,” says researcher Gary Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University. “And a reduction in sleep apnea has a number of benefits for overall health and well-being.”
Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder that brings symptoms such as super-loud snoring and sleep disruption that comes from the airway being temporarily blocked (interrupting your breathing) as you sleep.
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Losing Weight Likely To Relieve (Or Cure) Sleep Problems Continued…
Patients may actually stop breathing over and over as they sleep, perhaps even hundreds of times a night, for anywhere from a few seconds to up to a minute (or longer). It’s no wonder those who have this condition don’t have the energy to do things during the day – would you?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, even kids, however the factors that add to your risk include:
- Being male
- Being overweight
- Being over 40 years old
- Having a neck size over 17 inches for men, 16 inches for women
- Having larger tonsils
- A family history of sleep apnea
Left untreated, sleep apnea can bring on some troublesome, life-changing health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeat or heart attack.
According to the National Institute of Health, this sleep disturbance affects more than 12 million Americans. Even today, many cases of sleep apnea remain undiagnosed (and therefore untreated) because of lack of awareness in both patients and healthcare providers.
The good news is that there are effective treatments available and cured for sleep apnea and other sleep related problems, and research like the current study shows that sometimes simple, conventional approaches work best.
Daily Health Bulletin
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