Sleep apnea, the worst type of sleep disorder is more closely linked to bodyweight, than you would like to believe. In fact, not just sleep apnea and weight gain, but sleep apnea and weight loss are also linked, in the sense that no treatment measures can be taken, unless body weight is brought under permissible limits.

This initially can be a bit confusing to someone who is getting to know a condition like obstructive sleep apnea for the first time. One of the most common varieties of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea happens as a result of complete collapse and blockage of upper respiratory tract. The origin of sleep apnea is attributed to snoring, when left untreated for a long period of time.

It is diagnosed with the help of sleep apnea test, medically termed as polysomnogram examination where certain sleep patterns are studied while the patient is kept under observation either at a sleep clinic or at home.

Let us first try to understand the critical link between sleep apnea and body weight in order to get a better grasp about the treatment of the condition.

Sleep apnea and weight gain

•    Obesity does not always mean extra fat accumulated around the thighs, waistline, etc. It also involves fat accumulated in the regions and organs involved directly with breathing, like the tongue, neck and throat. This excessive fat creates serious impedance in the process of breathing that can be made worse by poor lifestyle choices like consumption of alcohol, etc.
•    While sleep apnea affects mostly obese individuals, rapid weight gain is also a prominent sleep apnea symptom.
•    Sleep apnea interferes with Grehlin and Leptin – two appetite-related hormones, resulting in increased appetite and weight gain. The condition also disrupts sleep often – a situation that has a direct negative impact on body weight.

Sleep apnea and weight loss

In addition to sleep apnea and weight gain, sleep apnea and weight loss are also intimately interlinked, as the first step towards treating the condition is immediate weight loss, without which no treatment can be started.

Sleep apnea has other important aspects that you need to know. For example, understanding the link between deviated septum and sleep apnea can lead you to the right treatment. Septal deviation is a condition where one nostril is rendered narrower than the other, by the deviated septum. This causes snoring over and above other problems like sinusitis, etc. Snoring when neglected usually worsens and develops into obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea and weight gain: two-pronged strategy in treatment

Doctors have to take a two-pronged strategy to combat the two inter-linked health conditions. First step is weight loss and the second to rectify the septal deviation. For weight loss the usual physical workouts along with revised diet are prescribed. Additionally, patients are advised to use sleep apnea pillows – specially-designed pillows that ensure that the head, neck, spine and shoulders are better aligned to allow normal nasal breathing.

However if the apnea condition ranges between moderate to severe and the degree of septal deviation is significant, doctors would prefer to perform somnoplasty surgery – a procedure that aims not only to remove the extra tissues from the airway but also rectify and reposition the deviated septum.

To stop snoring and ease sleep apnea symptoms without surgery or noisy CPAP machines, find out about the advantages of a dental oral appliance.

About the Author

Marc MacDonald is an independent researcher who has spent considerable time and effort in studying and collating information about health-related concerns, specifically focused on sleep and nutrition.

He has written innumerable research reports on particular subjects like somnoplasty, becoming a vegetarian, sleep apnea pillows, eating raw food, deviated nasal septum surgery, snoring remedies, and good night sleep techniques.