According to the American Sleep Association, 25 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea. The frequent interruptions in breathing can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest, but that isn’t the only concern. Believe it or not, research shows sleep apnea can also affect your waistline. If you struggle to maintain a healthy weight, here’s how the right sleep apnea treatment near East Hanover can help you breathe better while shedding unwanted pounds.
Can Excess Weight Cause Sleep Apnea?
Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea; however, there are certain factors that increase your risk of it, such as being overweight. In fact, research shows only a 10% weight gain can increase the likeliness of obstructive sleep apnea by as much as 6 times.
An unhealthy weight often causes extra fat deposits near the neck. It’s referred to as pharyngeal fat, which can block the upper airway when a person is relaxed, such as while sleeping.
Excess abdominal fat can lead to breathing issues as well because the weight places pressure on the chest wall. Your lung capacity will be reduced, which also lowers your airflow. You’ll have a heightened risk of the upper airway collapsing while sleeping.
Snoring is also attributed to obesity because it causes the airway to be restricted. As the air passes through the soft tissues, it causes vibrations that result in the prominent noise. Not only is snoring connected to an unhealthy weight but also sleep apnea.
Can Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain?
Besides weight gain contributing to sleep apnea, the interruptions in breathing can also increase the likeliness of obesity. In fact, 60-90% of patients with obstructive sleep apnea are also overweight. The frequent pauses can lead to sleep deprivation, suppressing the hormone leptin, which controls your appetite. Not getting enough rest can also raise the appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin. As a result, overeating can be a common problem for patients who have untreated sleep apnea.
How is Sleep Apnea Treated?
The most traditional treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, which delivers a steady stream of air pressure through a mask worn over the mouth or nose to prevent your soft tissues from collapsing. Although it’s effective, it can be bothersome. As an alternative, many patients are choosing oral appliance therapy. A custom-fit device repositions your lower jaw and holds your tongue in place to help you breathe better, so you can get the rest you need.
Eating a balanced diet and maintaining a regular exercise routine can help you shed unwanted weight. You’ll be on your way to breathing better while also reaching optimal wellness through a healthy lifestyle.
About Dr. John A. Carollo
Dr. John Carollo earned his dental degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Over his 30-year career, he has undergone advanced training in many areas of specialty, including sleep dentistry. If you have obstructive sleep apnea or suffer from chronic snoring, he can help. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.