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Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss

obese main with sleep apnea machine

Obese main breathing with the help of sleep apnea machine.

It has been revealed that the best possible way to fight sleep apneas is by losing weight. This is something that has now been conclusively proven. In fact, there is now quite some discussion going between doctors about whether they should recommend weight loss surgery to any patient that presents to them that is obese and suffers from sleep apnea.

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?
With a lot of diseases, and particularly when there is a dual diagnosis (two conditions at the same time), it isn’t clear what came first. However, with sleep apneas this is not the case. It is very clear that being overweight is a big risk factor in terms of causing sleep apneas. Although not everybody who is overweight also suffers from sleep apneas, apneas will never cause someone to become overweight, whereas the opposite (being overweight causing apneas) does occur all the time.

American College of Physicians
The American College of physicians has recently released a new paper. This paper explained a review of various studies that have taken place over around half a century (between 1966 and 2012) looking into sleep apneas in particular. Scientists have been interested in understanding the condition where people simply stop breathing during their sleep for as long as it has been around.

A sleep apnea itself is rarely fatal (although there are exceptions). However, it does have a number of very serious side effects and these can be fatal. For instance, people who suffer from sleep apneas often develop cardiovascular disease. In a best case scenario, they cause daytime sleepiness, which is perhaps not fatal, but it can be high inconvenient, particularly for those who have jobs that require a great deal of concentration, or those who still go to school and have to learn.

Sleep apneas are becoming increasingly prevalent in our population because we are collectively getting fat.

The research came to a very clear conclusion: those who have sleep apneas and who are overweight should go through a rigorous sleep apnea weight loss regime. This regime can significantly reduce how they experience apneas, even if they do not currently suffer from diabetes.

Apnea In Non-Obese People
It is important to remember that not all obese people have apneas and that not all apnea sufferers are obese. Yes, sleep apnea and weight loss go hand in hand but if patients do not have significant weight issues, a different type of treatment needs to be found. CPAP machines are generally the most popular. Unfortunately, the CPAP masks generally has to be worn for the rest of the patient’s life and many decide to give up on the treatment because they find it uncomfortable.

There are some other options too. For those who don’t have to lose weight and who find the CPAP is not effective, there is the mandibular advancement device. However, not all medical professionals have this available yet. What matter most for patients, however, is that it is rarer for a surgery to go right than what it is for a diet to go right.

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