Sleep Apnea and Your Weight
Most people with sleep apnea don’t even know they have it because they are asleep when most of the symptoms are prevalent. Then they are told that they snore loudly then they are completely silent for a few seconds followed by choking or gasping for air. Sometimes their symptoms can include being drowsy during the day, headaches in the morning, ongoing depression and sleep deprivation.
You might wonder what exactly sleep apnea is and why you might have it. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can sometimes become life threatening. Sleep apnea is where you can stop breathing completely or partially for about ten or thirty seconds. The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and your sleep can be interrupted multiple times at night.
Symptoms of sleep apnea are sometimes hard to determine because again this happens when you are asleep. You can stop breathing while you are sleeping, end up choking or gasping for air while you sleep. You are frequently waking up and there is usually loud snoring. Sometimes there is sweating and chest pain while you sleep. Feeling tired during the day along with headaches first thing in the morning or at night. If there is sudden and inexplicable weight gain.
You put your body through a lot and when you have sleep apnea you have issues that can be more life threatening. Sleep apnea reduces the blood oxygen levels and it raises carbon dioxide levels depriving the organs like your heart and lungs of oxygenated blood. This puts a lot of stress on your lungs, heart, brain and immune system. Each time you restart your breathing you are waking yourself up and causing yourself to become sleep deprived.
Does sleep apnea cause weight gain? There are two reasons why sleep apnea is related to someone gaining weight. First the body releases adrenaline to restart the breathing. With the spike of adrenaline the body triggers the carbohydrate metabolism that increases the blood glucose levels. Then your body responds to the high blood glucose and releases more insulin that will cause the sugar to be stored as body fat. Instead of the body burning the fat for energy while you sleep it is always making more. This also helps explain why sleep apnea is related to having diabetes.
Second sleep apnea weight gain is related to the lack of sleep. When the body are sleep deprived there are two hormones that control hunger and fullness and those are thrown off balance. When they are no longer working in sync with one another people who are sleep deprived because of the sleep apnea they then they are more than likely to make unhealthy food choices and tend to overeat. In a study they found that two-thirds of all patients suffering from sleep apnea are overweight or obese. They are also closely tied to patients that have type 2 diabetes.
Body weight is one of the most prominent factors that affect people with sleep apnea. When most people think of sleep apnea they have a stereotype in their head of a heavyset person with a thick short neck. If a patient with sleep apnea were to lose just ten percent it would help decrease the symptoms of sleep apnea. Other health conditions that are related to sleep apnea are high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke and other cardiovascular issues. Anyone who suffers from sleep apnea has to work harder to just do basic body functions.
Treatment for sleep apnea is something that is easier to come by than it has in the past. There is a wide range of treatment for people who suffer from mild apnea to severe apnea. For people with mild sleep apnea your doctor might have you do some lifestyle changes like losing weight, increase in exercise, stop smoking, avoid alcohol and sleeping pills and try to sleep on your side rather than your back. Even though snoring is a big part of sleep apnea treatments that are designed to help snoring like nasal strips and throat sprays don’t help with sleep apnea.
For moderate and severe cases of sleep apnea your doctor may have you try continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) machine. This is used with a mask that usually covers your nose or mouth and it helps keep the upper airways open. You will usually go to a sleep lab to determine the severity of your sleep apnea and that will help decide which treatment would be right for you.