Being overweight can lead to obesity and many other health issues. Among these are hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and often sleep apnea, which deprives the body of restorative time needed each night to stay healthy and strong.
Sleep loss may cause weight gain, and in turn, weight gain can also lead to sleep apnea—thus creating a vicious cycle between the two. It begs the question, which came first, the weight gain or the sleep issues and sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is when sound sleep is disrupted by heavy or halted breathing during the night due to obstructed or blocked airways. It is often characterized by heaving snoring as well.
Excess weight carried around the abdomen or in the neck can put pressure on the airways leading up through the lungs and nasal passages making it very difficult to breathe when asleep and muscles are relaxed.
Poor sleep also adversely affects our hormones, causing two key ones that regulate appetite, ghrelin and leptin, to become unbalanced and additionally contribute to the tipping of scales.
“Roughly 60 to 90% of adults who experience sleep apnea are overweight,” says Sleep Better Austin’s expert, Dr. Max Kerr. “Even though evidence shows that weight loss can help improve the severity of sleep apnea, it is next to impossible to manage or lose weight for people that get poor sleep or suffer from it.”
While a healthy diet and regular exercise can go a long way in losing weight and restoring healthy sleep, extra measures are frequently needed.
For those patients, there are many sleep apnea treatments available, such as CPAP machines or a fitted oral appliance, to help open up the airways and ease breathing for a better night’s sleep.
Sleep Better Austin’s customized Oral Appliance Therapy often proves successful when other options have failed. To learn more about sleep apnea treatment and how it can significantly improve sleep quality and help contribute to a healthier weight, please contact us to schedule a complimentary appointment with one of our experts in dental sleep medicine.