Sleep Apnea and Weight: Symptoms and Risks
Sleep Apnea, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, affects Americans as a sleep disorder itself and the lost productivity. What is the relationship between apnea and your weight?
Most of us face sleeping disorders at some point in our lives. Difficulty in falling asleep, and the inability to sleep for a long time are a couple of the most common problems that Americans face. Other than these, sleep apnea -- or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome -- is also quite common. Both adults (men and women) and children are found to suffer from this condition.
The Risks of Sleep Apnea
In simple terms, sleep apnea can be described as temporary stoppage in breathing due to blockage in airways. These gaps occur repeatedly causing breaks in sleeping. Whenever you get interrupted sleep, you wake without feeling completed rested and can feel exhausted throughout the following day. This can lead you to feel irritated and sleepy during the daytime.
Sleep apnea can also be fatal if left untreated. It is important that you seek medical help, and treat this condition. Sometimes apnea can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and even the possibility of a stroke. Of all the risk factors behind sleep apnea, doctors consider weight to be a major one.
Weight Gain and Sleep Apnea
Overweight people often have fat accumulated around their upper airway that blocks the air passage. During sleeping, they experience obstruction in breathing which leads to obstructive sleep apnea. Obese people are those most commonly diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.
Weight and sleeping disorders are related in a vicious cycle. Scientists have discovered a relation between lack of sleep and weight gain. Sleep-deprived people have higher chances of becoming obese. This is because their body secretes more of a hormone that activates appetite, and they end up eating more and becoming overweight. Overweight people who have sleep apnea find it difficult to sleep peacefully during the night and can feel irritated during the day. It is therefore crucial that you understand the symptoms of sleep apnea and try to to solve it or cure it.
The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of sleep apnea can be observed when people are sleeping. The soft tissue that is located at the back of the throat is in most relaxed position. This blocks the passage of air and people experience difficulty breathing.
The symptoms of sleep apnea are as follows:
- Snoring and pauses in breathing with some associated gasping
- Difficulty breathing while sleeping
- Lying in unusual positions, and sleeping restlessly
- Behavioral problems that arise due to lack of sleep
Treatment of sleep apnea
In cases of mild sleep apnea, conservative treatment may help in reducing the symptoms. Behavioral modifications are enough to give people respite from sleep apnea.
For overweight people losing weight is the easiest way to treat sleep apnea. Research in this field confirms the same idea. Doctors have found that those patients who lose weight experience significant improvement in their condition. Doctors often advise their patients to lose about 10% of body weight. Studies in this field have proved that people who lost weight also experienced remission of their sleep apnea problems by around 50%.
If you are overweight and have sleep apnea, it is time that you make weight loss your goal to treat sleep apnea and lead a healthy life. Consult your doctor about treating your sleep apnea -- or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.