Sleep Care

Obesity and Sleep Apnea

While being overweight does not cause sleep apnea, it does make it more likely for you to have a sleeping disorder. An increase in weight and neck size may be indicators that you have sleep apnea or suffer from other health problems. Obesity is a growing problem; an increase in body size can cause problems in your sleep. If you are overweight you are more likely to snore and to toss and turn during the night. Also, being overweight can cause increased pressure on you airway during sleep, making it more likely to close. Fatty deposits in the neck also increase the pressure put on the airway at night. These changes in the body do increase the likelihood that you may suffer from sleep apnea.  It is important that if you are overweight and do not feel that you sleep very well to contact your doctor to see if you have sleep apnea. Dieting alone is not a recommended way to treat sleep apnea. It is important to discuss all the treatment options with your doctor. Diet, exercise, and the proper use of CPAP (or other prescription treatments) are the recommended ways to help to improve sleep. When sleep apnea is diagnosed and then treated it can lead to weight loss and increased energy during the day. Sleeping is very important to your health and to living a healthy lifestyle. If CPAP is not an option for you try some other common snoring and apnea treatments.

If I lose weight will my sleep apnea go away?

Losing weight will likely reduce the severity of sleep apnea and it’s impact on your health. However, it is very important to remember that being overweight does not cause sleep apnea. So if you do lose weight, you may still have sleep apnea. It is important to talk to your doctor about your apnea and how your weight loss has affected it. Weight loss is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to improve your health. Weight loss may even help your sleep and lessen your sleeping disorders. If significant weight loss has occurred, you should talk to your doctor about possibly repeating your sleep study to determine the severity of your apnea. It is also important to remain on any treatments, including CPAP, even if you feel that you may not need it. Only a doctor can tell you if you still have sleep apnea and what treatment is best.

If I lose weight do I still need to use my CPAP machine?

Yes. You should always remain on your CPAP or BIPAP machine until a doctor has told you to stop treatment. As with any prescription, it is important to discuss with your doctor any changes or concerns you may have. Weight loss is a great way to improve your health and to improve your sleep. However, weight loss does not guarantee that your sleep apnea will go away. Talk to your doctor; ask him or her about your current weight and how much you have lost. Discuss the options of redoing a CPAP sleep test to see if your current pressure is the best for you.  Even if you have lost weight, CPAP is still beneficial for your health and for maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.


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