Sleep Apnea And Obesity - Experts Explain The Risks And Facts
There are also cases where patients already have sleep disorders that sometimes lead to obesity and OSA. Regardless of the risk factor, one should always be mindful of his or her body weight gain, however little or much, as this can cause both sleep apnea and obesity.
Sleep Apnea And Obesity
To fully understand sleep apnea and obesity, as well as their causes and prevention, patients are advised to learn how to differentiate between the two.
Obstructive sleep apnea, or sleep apnoea, is a common sleep disorder that disables your breathing for a few moments during your sleep. The severity of sleep apnea can be distinguished from the number of breathing interruptions experience per hour. Five to fifteen episodes are mild while airway pressure of more than thirty times is severe.
Sleep-related breathing disorders interrupt the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and, in turn, reduce the body’s ability to improve physical health, memory, creativity, and daytime wakefulness. When you don’t get enough sleep because of the symptoms of sleep apnea, your brain loses carbon dioxide and cannot function entirely. It can also cause stroke, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, carbon monoxide poisoning, hypertension, and daytime sleepiness among obese patients. It can also cause death.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome
There are two common types of sleep apnea, and one of them is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA. It is a sleep disorder that occurs when the muscles in the throat relax, and the upper airway is obstructed during sleep. Disturbances happen dozens of times during one sleep cycle. Patients who have severe OSA are more prone to other severe medical conditions.
Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome is also a sleep-related breathing disorder and can affect obese patients. The symptoms of OSA cause patients to have increased carbon dioxide levels and decreased oxygen in the blood. Without getting medical treatment, this disorder can cause life-threatening health issues.
Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome often occurs when extra fat on the chest or neck causes difficulty in breathing. It can also hamper your brain’s ability to control your breathing. Most patients suffering from this almost always have sleep apnea and obesity as well. If your doctor diagnoses you with obesity, it is best to screen yourself for obesity hypoventilation syndrome as well.
Sleep Apnea Due To Obesity
Is sleep apnea caused by obesity? The answer is yes – and, no. Obesity is a hard phase to overcome but can be dealt with the help of bariatric surgery. It may not always be the cause of apneas and hypopneas, but it is one of the most significant contributing factors.
Obese patients that continuously gain weight and fat around their necks and trunks are highly likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea. That is because all the excess fat blocks their upper airway, making it harder for positive airway pressure to go through. If you are obese and do not yet have a clue if you have breathing problems, it is best to watch out for sleep apnea symptoms such as snoring, repetitive waking up at night, and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Does obesity cause sleep apnea?
There is a close relationship between the sleep apnea syndrome and obesity. Can obesity cause sleep apnea? Yes, but not all obese patients by body mass index experience the symptoms. For instance, some patients have standard weights but suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. However, if you are obese, it is highly recommended to get a full physical examination, blood pressure test, and sleep apnea test, which includes apnea-hypopnea index ahi, to be completely safe and sure.
To do that, your physician will measure your neck circumference. If you are male and have 17 inches or more of neck circumference, then you have a higher risk of apnea and hypopnea. The same goes for female patients with 16 inches and more of neck circumference. Some obese patients resort to undergoing bariatric surgery to achieve weight loss successfully.
Why does obesity cause sleep apnea?
Obesity can cause various health issues, not just sleep apnea-hypopnea. When you are obese, a lot of soft tissues develop around your mouth and throat. Since the muscles of the throat and tongue are more relaxed while sleeping, that can cause your upper airway making you unable to breathe naturally. As far as statistics go, an estimated 18 million Americans suffer from the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Causes Obesity
Patients who struggle with sleep apnea, sleep deprivation, and other sleep disorders do not get the appropriate amount of night’s sleep they need to function adequately. That leaves them tired and groggy to do anything else, especially exercise. Brisk movements such as walking, running, or doing jumping jacks can help you achieve weight loss. But if your body is always exhausted from daytime sleepiness caused by sleep apnea, weight gain, as well as mental illness, is inevitable.
Is sleep apnea related to obesity?
Obstructive breathing can cause patients to wake up many times during their sleep. Sometimes, even with the help of sleep aid, symptoms of sleep apnea still prevail. But how does this all relate to obesity?
It is a known fact that sleeping less can cause both weight gain and weight loss, depending on the patients’ genetics. However, studies show that the shorter the hours of sleep, the higher the body mass index. Weight gain is also one of the results of sleeping late. 
How does sleep apnea cause obesity?
Several medical works of literature talk about how sleep apnea is related to obesity. One of the key points is that patients who have severe breathing-related sleep disorders are highly likely to eat more and have increased cravings when they wake up. The apparent connection between sleep deprivation CPAP and hunger is evident in obese people who work long hours. Because their body does not get enough rest, it demands more fuel to function by way of food.
Sleep Apnea And Childhood Obesity
Obese children have more chances of developing insulin resistance, obesity, and OSA in their adult life. The good news is that obstructive sleep apnea can be cured in your child’s early years by following an effective weight loss program and a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or tonsillectomy. The only problem is that parents sometimes find it difficult to acknowledge that their children are obese.
Most parents think that weight loss at a tender age is too much for a child to go through. Many even believe that their obese children will shed all the extra weight as they grow up. However, childhood obesity is now, on its own, an epidemic. Obese children that do not get treatment early on have higher chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea and carry on obesity in their adult life.
Obesity And Sleep Apnea Statistics
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea affects nearly 1 billion people worldwide. It is more common among Hispanics, African-Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
- 25-40% of patients with sleep apnea have family members with the same condition, citing a tendency that the sleep disorder may be inherited through genetics.
- At least 18 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea, but only 90% of them are aware of it.
- 4% of children between the ages of 2 and 8 suffer from sleep apnea.
- In 2016, approximately 1.9 billion adults in the world are overweight, of which 650 million are obese. At the same time, 340 million children between the ages of 5-19 are obese.
- 1 in 3 children who develop obesity caused by sleep apnea will develop diabetes.