Sleep apnea is a serious health problem that has a tendency to stay under the radar until it has already caused a whole host of health problems. Health conditions brought about by the condition include headaches, chronic fatigue, and even mental health issues. Studies say that there’s a strong link between sleep apnea and obesity, with some suggesting that nearly half of obese American adults are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OSA sufferers experience brief breathing pauses while they sleep. These pauses manifest themselves as snores, coughing, or choking noises. These interruptions can negatively affect a person’s normal sleep pattern, making it tough not only for the sufferer, but also for their partner or spouse to get a good night’s sleep.
But more than just sleep interruptions, OSA can lead to long term health risks because it deprives the brain from receiving its much-needed regular supply of oxygen. When this happens, a person becomes at high risk of stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, and certain forms of cancer. Additionally, obese individuals with sleep apnea can also develop two or more disorders or illnesses, with interactions between the existing illnesses potentially worsening the course of both.
Causes of sleep apnea
While sleep apnea has various causes, the most common cause in adults is obesity. Being overweight or obese can cause the tongue and throat to relax and block airways whenever the person is asleep. When the airways are blocked, the individual can stop breathing for a few seconds before he starts to breathe again. This can happen many times over the course of sleep.
Aside from obesity, other common causes of OSA include:
- Enlarged tonsils
- Tumors in the throat
- Other throat conditions
The most obvious symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Most people with OSA don’t know they have it, since they are asleep when this primary symptom occurs. Other telltale signs of the condition include:
- Constant daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Sore or dry throat in the morning
- Morning headaches
- Night sweats
- Difficulty concentrating on tasks
- Difficulty memorizing
Sleep apnea has many treatments. One of the most common is the use of a continuous positive air pressure device (CPAP), a medical apparatus that gently forces oxygen through the airways. However, this device can be uncomfortable to use for many people. Additionally, many users don’t know how to use the machine properly, which can prevent them from enjoying the device’s full benefits.
Nasal congestion can contribute to OSA, and if a physician diagnoses it, he may recommend the use of nasal spray.
Weight loss is another effective treatment for sleep apnea in obese patients. In some people, even the loss of a few pounds may reduce sleep apnea occurrence.
Why choose medical weight loss
Working with an Atlanta, GA medical weight loss management provider is a life-changing decision. It requires a serious, lifelong commitment on your part, but you’ll be happy to know that the best weight loss management clinics such as Superior Healthcare Group will be there with you every step of the way, using evidence-based science to help you manage your weight.
How do you know if medical weight loss is right for you?
You are a good candidate for medical weight loss if you:
- Have been overweight for more than five years
- Have had little success with previous attempts to lose weight
- Are willing and able to make the necessary changes to lifestyle and eating habits
To know if medical weight loss is a possible solution to your obesity and sleep apnea problem, consult an Atlanta, GA medical weight loss provider such as Superior Healthcare Group.
The Epidemiology of Adult Obstructive Sleep Apnea, NIH.gov
Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, WebMD