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The Dangers of Obesity and Uncontrolled Sleep Apnea

By: Houston Sleep Solutions | Published 01/20/2022

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CARDIOVASCULAR AND METABOLIC RISKS

Research studies have shown an association between sleep apnea and problems like diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, even a reduced lifespan. One of the main reasons for this is that obesity is common in sleep apnea sufferers and being overweight can profoundly increase the risks of diabetes, stroke, and heart attack. In most sleep apnea cases, obesity is the main driver of unhealthy conditions. Speak to Dr. Montz, Dr. Maher, or Dr. Dunwody at Houston Sleep Solutions South and they will be able to help diagnose your symptoms and develop a unique treatment plan if appropriate.

Contrarily, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone with sleep apnea is overweight or obese. Additionally, evidence suggests there is an independent link between sleep apnea and diabetes. Research labs have demonstrated that sleep apnea is associated with higher risks of diabetes, independent of obesity and that sleep apnea can increase blood sugar levels.

For people who are obese, weight loss is key for, not just a healthy lifestyle, but also for treating or avoiding sleep apnea. Those people who accumulate fat in the neck, tongue, and upper belly are especially vulnerable to getting sleep apnea. This extra fat reduces the diameter of the throat, pushes against the lungs, and contributes to the airway collapsing during sleep.

Women should be careful as they age. While premenopausal women tend to put on weight in the hips and in the lower body instead of the belly, this changes over time. Fat begins to accumulate in typically “male” areas like the tummy and gut, and this leads to a greater chance of sleep apnea.

After menopause, hormones will change, and women tend to start looking like men in terms of where the weight gets put on. It’s time to be paying attention to the risks of sleep apnea because women begin to catch up to men in the rates of apnea after menopause.

Dr. Montz, Dr. Maher, or Dr. Dunwody at Houston Sleep Solutions South will be able to help you determine if an oral appliance is right for you.

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