How Obesity Affects Sleep: Understanding its Link to Sleep Apnea

Obesity’s Link to Sleep Apnea

Are your sleep sessions less satisfying than you’d like? If you snore loudly, become excessively tired during daytime hours, awake with a dry mouth, or wake up suddenly and feel short of breath, you might have sleep apnea. Learn how obesity affects sleep. The condition is common in the U.S., now that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from a mild form of the ailment, and 1 in 15 have moderate to severe sleep apnea. But those figures are expected to jump, as one condition associated with sleep apnea – obesity – rises across the country.

By 2030, it’s expected that about 164 million Americans will be obese, according to a new study. Obesity has a strong association with the more common type of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, because fat deposits in the upper airway can cause breathing trouble. It should be noted that thin individuals also get the condition, but for those who are obese, healthy weight loss has been shown to reduce episodes of the disorder.

Sleep apnea can get in the way of a restful nights sleep.

Here’s a major problem to consider: it’s estimated that 80 to 90 percent of people with sleep apnea don’t even know they have it. Because sleep apnea is linked to a number of serious health concerns, it’s important to visit a doctor to examine and manage symptoms. Hypertension, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, stroke and heart failure are just a few of the health issues that have been associated with the sleep disorder.

It’s important to manage a healthy weight, but it’s also critical to understand how obesity affects sleep. Check with a doctor if you have any reason to suspect you might suffer from sleep apnea. Proper testing can bring peace of mind and, with the right care, lead to better nights of rest.

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