SLEEP APNEA AND OBESITY. Yogita Fernandes lays on the table the real problems of sleep apnea and obesity as its trigger.
The first question to be answered, naturally, is: What is sleep apnea? Simply explained, sleep apnea is interrupted breathing when you’re sleeping. This sleeping disorder often goes unrecognized to a point where even doctors and medical tests are unable to detect it. Snoring may not be an area of concern for most individuals, but is a significant symptom of this sleep disorder, especially when it’s frequent and loud. Apnea affects the consistency of breathing in that there are often unexpected pauses during the process. It is treatable, but the first step of diagnosis is to differentiate it from normal snoring. If you or someone you know is experiencing this sleep disorder, it is important to consult a medical professional. When it occurs, the interruptions in breathing can last ten to 20 seconds, and up to 75 times in a single night. This often results in light sleep rather than restorative sleep, which is exactly what the body needs to be mentally sharp, productive and energetic the next day. This deprivation of sleep often results in slow reflexes, fatigue, dull concentration and myriad health problems to include heart disease, highblood pressure, stroke, diabetes and obesity. There are three types of this sleep disorder, namely obstructive, central, complex sleep apnea, and all are curable provided you identify the warning signs and effectively prevent them.
“People suffering from obesity should focus on reducing the extra tissue and fat located in the throat region”
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
As mentioned before, loud and frequent snoring are the most prominent symptoms of this sleep disorder, but there are a few more that occur even while you’re awake. You may find yourself falling asleep while you are at work or even driving. Other signs include sore throat or dry mouth when you wake up, frequently getting up to urinate in the middle of your sleep, depression, mood swings, personality changes, memory or learning problems, and headaches especially in the morning. To get a more objective view on the symptoms, you can ask your bed partner, if any, a number of questions, such as whether you briefly stop breathing and gasp when you’re asleep, and whether you snore more than three nights a week. Some inconspicuous matters such as a shirt collar size can also give clue on the condition of the sleep apnea. It is important as well to note that not all snorers have this sleep disorder, and not all sleep apnea-affected individuals snore. Therefore, you should carefully analyze the symptoms before jumping to conclusions. One distinct sign is the quality of sleep, so if you snore and still have an energized day, you’re less likely to suffer from this sleep disorder.
THE IMPACT OF OBESITY
Although medical research proves that obesity is one of the leading causes of this sleep disorder, there is evidence it may promote weight gain as well. Unlike other risk factors for sleep apnea such as nasal congestion, smoking and alcohol, obesity is the only symptom that can be reversed. Obesity instigates sleep apnea in several ways, including obstruction of the airways, collapsible narrow airways, soft tissue enlargement around the pharynx and increased fat deposits in the throat area.
TREAT MENT OPTIONS
Good news is that sleep apnea is treatable, provided you take the right steps. There are several treatments you can render on your own, especially when treating mild to moderate occurrences of sleep apnea. People suffering from obesity should focus on reducing the extra tissue and fat located in the throat region. This can only be done with effective weight-loss remedies. Shedding the extra pounds is easier said than done, but it is the only way to yield great results. Losing weight is not just a cure for sleep apnea, but greatly reduces the risk of heart disease and other health problems. There are several other measures one can take to prevent sleep apnea, including sleeping on your side, opening nasal passages, maintaining regular sleeping hours, avoiding alcohol sedative and smoking.
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