The Dangerous Revolution of Sleep Apnea & Weight
No one likes being overweight. It can make you tired, sore, unmotivated, and isolated. While genetics plays a role in your weight, we can put some of the blame on the difficulties surrounding losing weight. If you suffer from sleep apnea, weight change can be challenging—but life-changing.
Sleep apnea and weight have a strong correlation to one another. Obesity and being overweight is a scary risk factor for sleep apnea because it affects your breathing while you sleep. Additionally, carrying extra weight can lead to further sleep apnea-related health issues, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
There is a perilous cycle between the two conditions because sleep apnea can cause you to gain weight. In 2011, researchers from the International Journal of Obesity conducted a study that found that “sleep problems likely contribute to weight gain.” A 2013 study supported these claims by finding that men who don’t sleep enough will gain unwanted weight.
The Impact of Weight Loss
Weight loss is an exceptional way to mitigate some of the adverse effects associated with obesity, being overweight, and sleep apnea. In 2009, a Swedish study published by Karolinska Institute noticed that men significantly alleviated their sleep apnea symptoms by altering their diets over nine weeks. Participants saw a 58% decrease in the severity of their symptoms.
Weight loss even reduces the risk of issues that we associate with sleep apnea, including heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The American College of Physicians recommends it as the first treatment to try for sleep apnea relief.
Enjoyable Exercise? Try Aerobics
Working out at a gym can be expensive, crowded, and awkward. Plus, tracking your progress can get confusing and demotivating if you don’t see the results you’re expecting. But working out is worth the effort—exercise can give you energy, confidence, and better sleep.
So, how do you get a full workout without going to the gym? It may surprise you to hear that some of the best exercises are also the most enjoyable. If you like your workout, you’re more inclined to maintain it. Additionally, high-intensity gym workout for an hour or more can be unhealthy and counterproductive.
Your Kerrville sleep specialist, Dr. Huff recommends starting with a workout that’s easily accessible, such as aerobic exercise. For example, if you enjoy walking, try strolling around your local mall or beach. If you enjoy sports, head down to your local community center and see what clubs they offer. No matter how you decide to get your exercise, remember that, you don’t need to go crazy. It may shock you what an hour of aerobic exercise will do for your health and sleep apnea.
Your Diet Can be the Difference
In 2017, researchers found that changing your lifestyle by eating healthier and losing weight can help you achieve successful obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) relief. The crucial takeaway from this study is that exercise and diet are powerful tools to make you stronger and healthier. However, Dr. Huff suggests focusing less on an exact diet plan and instead monitoring what you eat, reducing your caloric intake, and exercising often.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does sleep apnea cause weight gain?
While sleep apnea doesn’t directly cause weight gain, the effects of the sleep disorder on your behavior may change your healthy habits. For example, if you’re exhausted after work because of sleep apnea, you may opt for a nap and take-out instead of exercising before cooking a nutritious, homemade meal.
These choices can add up over time, causing weight gain and other health problems, such as hypertension. That’s why it’s vital to explore treatment options for sleep apnea to help reverse the negative cycle of symptoms.
Will losing weight alleviate my sleep apnea symptoms?
Weight loss may help alleviate symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, as one of the causes of sleep apnea is pressure on the airway. By losing weight, you’ll decrease the amount of fatty tissue in the neck, helping your airway remain open while you sleep.
Increasing airflow can help reduce or eliminate snoring and other sleep apnea symptoms. After preventing airway collapse, some patients may no longer require sleep apnea treatment.
Will treating my sleep apnea help me lose weight?
While exercise and healthy food choices are important for losing weight, quality sleep offers several benefits toward weight loss. When you get quality sleep, your metabolism will be in prime condition, helping you lose weight easier.
Waking up refreshed and ready to tackle the day will also motivate you to make healthy choices. This will give you the necessary energy for exercising and cooking healthy meals.
Does sleep apnea affect my metabolism?
Sleep apnea can lead to spikes in your levels of blood pressure, blood sugar, and hormones, which can all have a significant effect on your metabolism. Patients with poor metabolism may struggle to lose weight, which in turn makes it difficult to treat symptoms of sleep apnea.
Seeking sleep apnea treatment can not only alleviate your symptoms but can help get your metabolism back on track, as well.
Will losing weight allow me to get healthy sleep without my CPAP machine?
While losing weight can help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms, you shouldn’t stop treatment with your CPAP machine without first consulting Dr. Huff. A sudden stop in treatment could lead to health complications. If you dislike CPAP therapy, we offer alternative treatments that can help relieve your sleep apnea symptoms. Contact our Kerrville office today at (830) 715-4484 to learn more about our CPAP alternatives.