Sleep apnea is a serious, and often under-diagnosed condition that can cause a host of health problems ranging from headaches, chronic fatigue, mental health issues, and general ‘brain fog’. Researchers have discovered a strong link between obesity and sleep apnea (also known as obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA), with studies suggesting that nearly half of all obese adults in America are currently suffering from OSA.
Patients with sleep apnea experience brief pauses in their breathing patterns while they sleep, which is why many people with OSA snore, cough, or make choking noises throughout the night. This can lead to lots of interruptions in the normal sleep pattern, making it tough for both the patient, and their spouse or partner, to get a good night’s’ rest.
Long-Term Health Risks of Sleep Apnea
Over time, chronic oxygen deprivation from sleep apnea can lead to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and even certain forms of cancer and Type-2 diabetes.
Patients who are obese and who have sleep apnea are at especially high risk of developing one or more related comorbid conditions. The fatigue caused by sleep apnea makes it especially tough to follow a healthy eating plan and fitness regime.
In a nutshell, sleep apnea and obesity create a vicious cycle that’s tough to break – being overweight or obese can lead to OSA, which in turn causes fatigue, brain fog, and other symptoms. OSA symptoms then tend to make losing weight through diet and exercise virtually impossible.
Bariatric Surgery Offers Hope For Obese Patients With Sleep Apnea
Bariatric surgery such as LAP-BAND, gastric bypass, and gastric sleeve is recommended for chronically obese individuals who suffer from moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Recent research shows 75 percent of all obese patients with OSA experience a significant decrease in sleep apnea symptoms after weight loss surgery. These patients also enjoy reduced risk of developing serious side-effects related to sleep apnea.
For More Information
To learn more about the connection between obesity and sleep apnea, and how weight loss surgery can help reduce, or even eliminate, the symptoms of OSA, contact us today at either our Albertville or Guntersville clinic to speak with one of our medical weight loss experts.