It’s no secret – being overweight or obese puts you at risk when it comes to your health. That extra weight increases the likelihood you or a loved one will experience a heart attack, stroke, and hypertension (among other ailments) in your lifetime.

But did you know obesity is also linked to sleep disorders?

People who are overweight tend to be more at risk for problems such as sleep apnea. In fact, obesity is one of its more common causes. Sleep apnea may cause individuals to stop breathing more than 100 times per hour while they sleep.

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

One of the most common remedies amongst sleep apnea patients is nighttime use of a device known as a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which forces air into your lungs.

“CPAP machines are not a cure for sleep apnea, they only provide temporary relief. Some people can eventually get off CPAP, while others can’t. That’s because some people will be on CPAP mostly due to their weight, and if they lose that excess weight, their anatomy itself allows for good openings in the airways. Losing weight is a more permanent solution. 

Snoring happens when the soft palate (tissue at the back of the roof of your mouth) vibrates and swells. That’s why CPAP helps – it reduces this swelling and allows the air to get in. 

Some people say ‘I’ve been using my CPAP machine and I don’t snore anymore, so now I don’t have to use it.’ However, after someone doesn’t use their machine for a couple of months, that swelling comes back, the airways close up, and people start snoring again.”

Alexander Gelfer, MD

Pulmonologist and Director of Sleep Care, Catholic Health

Learn How to Combat Obesity

  • Avoid highly-processed food and high calorie meals
  • Regular physical activity and exercise
  • Support from a registered dietitian or nutritionist 
  • Movement during the day if your job is sedentary
  • Consultation with a bariatric specialist

If your weight has created a long-term problem for you, the bariatrics team at Trinity Medical WNY may have a solution. Inquire about their resources for weight loss solutions today.

Find a Sleep Medicine Specialist Near You
Call (716) 706-2112

Find a Sleep Medicine Specialist Near You
Call (716) 706-2112