Sleep Apnea is a common disorder in which a person stops breathing for a brief moment while asleep. This condition often results in restless and sleeplness nights.
While CPAP or APAP devices are typically prescribed to patients with sleep apnea, researchers are now finding a small percentage of weight loss can also help to combat the disorder.
A report compiled by Finnish researchers and published in the Feb. 11 issue of Sleep Medicine, found that “losing as little as 5 percent of body weight leads to significant improvement” for sleep apnea patients, reports Health Magazine.
Dr. Henri Tuomilehto, an adjunct professor at the University of Eastern Finland’s Oivauni Sleep Clinic and the lead researcher on the project claims,“Being moderately overweight increases the risk for obstructive sleep apnea by 10 times.”
Additionally, “Dr. Harly Greenberg, head of sleep medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., [says] obesity is linked to sleep apnea because fatty tissue accumulates around the neck and narrows the airway, making it more susceptible to obstruction during sleep.”
As a result of this study, researchers now believe including a weight-loss program as part of the treatment plan for all overweight sleep apnea patients could have a very successful outcome. Although it is not suggested as the sole treatment for sleep apnea, it can help tremendously.
“We believe it represents the first-line treatment in the early phases of the disease and has a good chance of curing the disease or at least preventing the progression,” says Tuomilehto.
Dr. Lisa Liberatore, an otolaryngologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, agrees on treating sleep apnea by always tackling any weight issues. “We have many examples of when patients lose weight their snoring and apnea reduces significantly,” Liberatore said.
This sleep apnea study appeared in the Feb. 11 issue of the journal Sleep Medicine.
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