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How Can Losing Weight Cure Sleep Apnea?

Not only can weight gain cause sleep apnea, but it can make sleep apnea systems worse. Conditions like enlarged tonsils or a narrow throat can also cause this condition, but the most common cause of sleep apnea is weight gain in the abdominal and pharyngeal regions.

This means that lifestyle and behavioral changes are the most effective way to combat sleep apnea.

Is Sleep Apnea Reversible with Weight Loss?

Working toward a healthy body weight is one of the most effective ways to alleviate obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type of sleep apnea) symptoms because it reduces fatty deposits in the neck and tongue.

Extra fat deposits in the neck called pharyngeal fat can obstruct the upper airway during sleep, causing an uncomfortable squeezing sensation in the throat and chest. This is why people who are overweight are more likely to snore during sleep. In severe obstructive sleep apnea cases, the upper airway can be so restricted at night that it can feel like breathing through a tiny straw.

Losing weight can also reduce other sleep apnea-related symptoms like:

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Cardiovascular issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance
  • Type 2 diabetes symptoms

Dietary changes and increased physical activity can provide meaningful relief to people suffering from sleep apnea. Moderately obese individuals who reduce their weight by 10% to 15% may even enjoy a 50% decrease in the severity of their sleep apnea symptoms.

Permanent Relief

The outlook is great for people seeking relief from sleep apnea symptoms by losing weight, but a cure isn’t guaranteed. There are also other anatomical factors that can get in the way of recovery. These include:

  • Having a receded chin
  • Having prominent nostrils
  • Having a deviated nasal septum

Individuals with sleep apnea may also experience varying degrees of difficulty losing weight because sleep apnea slows down the metabolism. This means that the method you use to control your sleep apnea and lose weight also matters.

The best weight loss method for treating sleep apnea varies based on the severity of symptoms, anatomical features, the prescribed approach from a medical professional and the patient’s comfort levels with their prescribed approach. Doctors will typically prescribe dietary changes and physical activity to start, but there are other options available for more severe cases, such as medications and surgery.

Consider consulting with your doctor first before choosing a weight loss strategy to combat your sleep apnea-related symptoms.