If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you’ve probably heard there’s a relationship between weight and the severity of sleep apnea. That’s true — those that are overweight or obese are more likely to experience worse sleep apnea symptoms.
However, a common misconception is that losing weight will completely solve your sleep apnea. Unfortunately, losing weight isn’t the “be-all and end-all” when it comes to reducing your sleep apnea symptoms. The solution may run deeper.
How Obesity Impacts Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can affect any individual for various reasons, but your risk of sleep apnea increases with the more fat you carry. When suffering from sleep apnea, your airway becomes repeatedly blocked, causing cessations in breathing that leave them gasping for air during the night.
The higher your BMI, the more likely you are to have increased fatty tissue in your neck. When this happens, your neck weighs more and is likely to cause your airway to collapse while you sleep.
Does Sleep Apnea Lead to Obesity?
While obesity can lead to heightened sleep apnea symptoms, sleep apnea can also lead you to pack on extra pounds. When your body is well-rested, you burn more calories making it easier to burn your food intake.
But when you’re suffering from sleep apnea and feeling fatigued all the time, it's hard to stay motivated and get in daily exercise. Without being physically active, the individual is at risk of gaining weight, which, left unchecked, can lead to obesity.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Will Losing Weight Improve Sleep Apnea?
Those suffering from sleep apnea that engage in regular exercise often experience lower frequency and intensity of sleep apnea symptoms.
This means regular exercise--and weight loss-- can help those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea sleep more soundly. Unfortunately, weight loss isn’t usually enough to solve all your problems related to sleep apnea.
Even though obesity is a leading factor for sleep apnea, it’s not the only cause to consider. Other factors can cause sleep apnea or make symptoms worse, including health conditions like hypothyroidism, kidney failure, and stroke, along with the consumption of alcohol and smoking cigarettes.
Although losing weight will likely make your sleep apnea better, it won’t be the cure you’re looking for. Overall, the best thing you can do to alleviate your symptoms is to lead a healthier lifestyle with ample sleep, physical activity, and a healthy diet.
But even then, you still might have problems with sleep apnea.
Struggling to Get a Good Night’s Sleep? Try APAP Therapy
As mentioned, weight loss can improve your sleep apnea symptoms. But you’re likely still going to need a breathing machine to help keep your airways open while you sleep.
An AutoPAP machine enables you to get the continuous air pressure you need to have the best night’s sleep possible.
Reach out to your doctor to determine if APAP aligns with your specific type of sleep apnea to ensure you reap the most benefits from the therapy.
ApneaMed can supply the breathing machine you need for restored sleep, helping you feel rested, vital, and ready to take on the day.