Weight Loss Improves Sleep Apnea
Headaches, lack of concentration, daytime sleepiness – could sleep apnea be causing these common symptoms? Most people who have sleep apnea are unaware they have this serious medical condition. They may wake up tired or feel exhausted all the time. It also can decrease your libido or cause you to wake up often during the night to urinate.
It’s usually the spouse who notices the actual signs. Snoring, gasping during sleep, reduced or absent breathing are all signs of sleep apnea.
Here’s how this sleep disorder happens. It occurs when your upper airway becomes blocked, over and over, while you’re asleep. It reduces or stops your airflow. Large tonsils can cause sleep apnea. However, obesity is a common cause of sleep apnea in adults. Increased fat deposits in the neck block the upper airway.
Left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk for a number of medical problems from asthma and type 2 diabetes to atrial fibrillation and heart disease.
If you think you have this disorder, you should talk to your health provider. They may recommend a sleep study to determine what’s happening when you’re asleep.
Lose weight to resolve sleep apnea
Fortunately, if you have sleep apnea and it’s caused by obesity, losing weight often resolves the problem.
To control or treat it, your doctor may recommend that you adopt lifelong healthy lifestyle changes.
- Limit how much alcohol you drink. Make sure you stay within recommended alcohol limits. For a man, it’s two drinks per day. For a woman, it’s one drink per day. Do not drink close to bedtime.
- Regular physical activity – taking a 30-minute walk every morning or evening – can help you lose weight.
- Aim for a healthy weight. Ask your doctor how much weight you need to lose to reach a healthy weight.
- Create a healthy sleep routine. Turn off electronics a few hours before bedtime. Don’t watch TV in bed.
- Quit smoking. If you struggle with smoking, ask your doctor for help. Many people successfully quit using nicotine products.