Sleep apnea can be diagnosed in even the healthiest of people, but those who are overweight may find that their excess pounds may further aggravate the situation. In fact, being overweight puts some patients at a higher risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) that can be caused or worsened by pockets of fat within the neck and throat area. Studies have shown that out of all patients diagnosed with sleep apnea, 60%-70% of them also suffer from a weight problem. In patients who are overweight, treatment is dual-sided.
Sleep apneics who need to lose weight may benefit from a low-energy diet combined with traditional treatment options for sleep apnea. Because being overweight can further harm a patient already suffering from sleep apnea, weight loss is a crucial part in successful treatment. In fact, a study conducted at Korlinska Institute found that a low-energy diet (Cambridge diet), exercise, and proper counseling all benefited patients diagnosed with sleep apnea. The finished study went on to show that out of all of the participants, after losing weight for a year, 48% did not use CPAP anymore, but only 10% of participants saw their OSA disappear.
Sleep apneics who are overweight, according to this study and many others, will benefit not only from traditional sleep apnea treatment methods but also weight loss. Unfortunately, because only 10% of patients who lose weight actually “cure” their sleep apnea, sleep apnea must be tackled from two different sides, further increasing one’s chance of a successful treatment. If you are overweight and have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is critical to find the sleep apnea treatment that is right for you. Work with Dr. Roubal to learn more about sleep apnea, treatment types, and what you can expect after treatment.