Weight Loss Can Improve Sleep Apnea


This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation

Obese patients with type 2 diabetes who experience obstructive sleep apnea saw an improvement in their condition after losing weight, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing is briefly and repeatedly interrupted during sleep. The “apnea” in sleep apnea refers to a breathing pause that lasts at least 10 seconds. There are a number of factors that increase risk of sleep apnea, including being overweight. The study, conducted by the Sleep AHEAD Research Group, looked at 264 participants with type 2 diabetes and an average weight of 225 pounds. Participants were separated into two groups: one that underwent a behavioral weight loss program and another that attended three group sessions on effective diabetes management. After one year, three times as many participants in the weight loss group than the session group saw their OSA go into remission, and prevalence in the weight loss group decreased by half. Lifestyle changes are effective ways of mitigating symptoms of sleep apnea. If you are overweight, losing weight is the most important action you can take to cure your sleep apnea.