It’s estimated that close to 70 percent of adult patients suffering from sleep apnea are overweight or obese. Weight gain can cause sleep apnea by creating tension around the throat, but can sleep apnea itself cause weight gain? It is a topic that is hotly debated in the health community. Some world-class athletes suffer from the disorder, so it is clear that not every sufferer is overweight and out of shape; but there is growing evidence that sleep apnea contributes to the weight gain seen in many of its victims.
Sleep apnea interrupts sleep when a relaxation of the throat muscles causes repeated collapsing of the upper airways. Being overweight puts even more pressure on the airways. Common signs of sleep apnea are snoring, gasping, or choking during sleep, and severe tiredness during the day.
Countless studies have linked a lack of sleep to significant health problems. Specifically, less sleep tends to influence hormone levels. When hormone signals become disrupted, your body will begin to function improperly. Sleep apnea can also cause unhealthy changes in your perceived hunger and eventually change the way your body processes energy. As some of your hormones become off balance due to sleep apnea, you may feel hungry more often, despite consuming the same amount of food. As you might expect, this can lead to excess food consumption and eventually weight gain.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can also cause imbalance to insulin levels. This may increase your risk of insulin resistance and diabetes. As you can see, it’s not wise to leave sleep apnea unchecked.
On top of that, sleep apnea may make it harder to be active and energetic. Since you may be experiencing daytime fatigue and breathing problems, simple physical activities will be even more difficult to sustain.
Our sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Paul Miller, can help you explore the link between weight and sleep apnea. We can show you how to overcome this disorder and learn ways to achieve better sleep hygiene and lead a healthier life. Contact Chesapeake Sleep Center today to set up an appointment.
Chesapeake Sleep Center
7711 Quarterfield Road, Suite C-1
Glen Burnie, MD 21061