I’m Lindsay White, a nurse practitioner with Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee.  Today I am going to talk to you about the relationship between Obstructive Sleep Apnea & Obesity. Obesity is a major risk factor for Sleep Apnea in both adults and children. This is due to fat deposits in the neck region that narrows the airway and make it easier to collapse and block air flow.

In addition, untreated sleep apnea can actually worsen obesity. Research shows that hormones related to weight control, appetite, and energy expenditure are altered in patients with Sleep Apnea. However, these hormones can begin to regulate after as little as four days of CPAP use. This can be explained by PAP therapy, helps to consolidate fragmented sleep patterns. Often associated with untreated Sleep Apnea. With a higher quality of sleep, hormones begin to regulate and patients don’t feel as sleepy and fatigued throughout the day.

Therefore, they have more energy to engage in healthy activities. As patients begin to lose weight, sleep apnea improves. In fact, as little as a 10% reduction in total body weight can lead to a significant improvement in the severity of Sleep Apnea. To help facilitate weight lost I recommend making dietary changes such as: avoid eating fast food, eating more lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.  Also, adults should aim for about 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity per week. Adults also need two or more strength training days per week. This goal should be reached gradually and you should always consult with your regular doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. 

Thank you for participating in today’s discussion about Obstructive Sleep Apnea & Obesity. For more information, please visit Sleep Centers of Middle Tennessee or call 615-893-4896.