Sleep apnea is a common, yet serious disorder in which breathing is frequently interrupted during sleep. People with sleep apnea literally stop breathing, often dozens or even hundreds of times during the night. Patient’s with sleep apnea will often wake himself or herself up with a loud snort or snore when sleeping. This places extra stress on the body, increasing the risk of a heart attack, stroke, and other serious medical issues.
Simply put, the brain and body cannot rest deeply because of this continued oxygen deprivation. People with sleep apnea often wake up tired and suffer from symptoms such as brain fog, morning headaches, ongoing fatigue or excessive daytime sleepiness. A consistent lack of sleep can also lead to an increase in snacking and unhealthy eating during the day, as the body attempts to seek out more calories for energy.
Being overweight can greatly increase the risk because people often have additional tissue at the very back of their throat. During sleep cycles, the additional tissue can fall down, blocking the airway. This, in turn, lowers their ability to rest deeply due to lower oxygen levels. Additionally, because many people with weight problems often have other medical concerns such as higher blood pressure, diabetes, heart and circulatory problems, lower oxygen levels may be more likely to cause a stroke or heart attack.
Weight Gain and Sleep Apnea: A Dangerous Cycle?
There is also a link between lack of sleep and sleep apnea with a tendency for the body to gain weight. While researchers cannot state unequivocally that sleep apnea increases weight, there is a relationship. There is also a link between sleep apnea and the later development of adult onset, or Type II diabetes, possibly due to the body becoming less responsive to insulin.
Whatever the cause, untreated sleep apnea with increased weight is a dangerous combination that can have serious consequences. Regular exercise such as walking in conjunction with a healthier diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, healthier oils, and less processed foods can help decrease these risks by lowering your weight and decreasing the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Losing weight is not always easy, but it can be done. If you, or someone you love is overweight and or has sleep apnea, you should seek treatment from a qualified sleep specialist or pulmonologist. Your doctor can diagnose your sleep apnea and provide ongoing treatments such as a CPAP machine, which uses positive air-flow to increase the amount of oxygen circulating in your body as you sleep.
If you have questions, or would like to know more about weight loss and sleep apnea or any other sleep or lung related issues, please call our office today at (817) 549-9993. For your convenience, you can also contact us online at firstname.lastname@example.org. Request an appointment with Dr. Oseni, a certified pulmonologist and sleep specialist, with a deep commitment to your health. Don’t put off getting a better night’s sleep any longer. Call today so that you can rest easier tomorrow.