How Obesity Impacts Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea and obesityIf you are overweight or obese and you experience difficulty breathing while you sleep, you may be suffering from a condition known as sleep apnea. Research has found that obesity and sleep apnea have a strong connection. Symptoms of sleep apnea can range from headaches, drowsiness, and confusion, to chronic fatigue, cognitive impairment, anxiety, and depression. Left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attacks, and some forms of cancer.

Sleep apnea, also known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious, chronic breathing disorder that impacts an estimated 3-7 percent of all American adults. If you are significantly overweight, research supports the positive impact that bariatric surgery can have on patients who suffer from OSA.

Co-Morbid Conditions Related To Obesity and Sleep Apnea

OSA causes either partial, or complete intermittent obstruction of the upper airway of the patient during sleep, which can lead to a host of health problems, including impaired cognitive functioning, hypertension, Type-2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

While many patients with obstructive sleep apnea are prescribed a device known as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine to help maintain a constant, steady air pressure during sleep, studies have shown that long-term compliance with this invasive therapy are poor. Approximately half of all those who have a CPAP machine for OSA management eventually stop using the device due to the discomfort, noise, and high maintenance required.

High Percentage of Bariatric Patients Have OSA

Surveys reveals a clear connection between obesity and sleep apnea. One recent study cited by the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, reported than 86 percent of patients scheduled for weight-loss procedures such as LAP-BAND, gastric bypass, and gastric sleeve tested positive for obstructive sleep apnea, with over half of those having severe symptoms of OSA.

Bariatric Surgery Reduces OSA Symptoms In Majority of Patients

According to the results of 69 medical studies involving 13,900 bariatric surgery patients, published in Obesity Surgery: The Journal of Metabolic Surgery and Allied Care, with pre-operative obstructive sleep apnea, bariatric surgery provided significant relief from OSA symptoms for 75 percent of the patients. The researchers who compiled these results concluded that, “bariatric surgery is a definitive treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, regardless of the specific type”.

For More Information

To learn more about how obesity and sleep apnea are linked and how bariatric surgery can help reduce, or even eliminate, the symptoms and risk factors associated with OSA, give us a call at 858.457.4917 or fill out our online form to book a consultation with our experienced, compassionate weight loss surgeon, Dr. Sunil Bhoyrul.

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