Home | Non-food | Disease | Weight loss helps sleep apnea

Weight loss helps sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is common among the overweight and obese.  A new study in the Sept. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine finds that weight loss improves sleep apnea.

Doctors have been advising their patients with sleep apnea to lose some weight to alleviate the condition that is linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease and a poor quality of life.  More than 12 million Americans are believed to be suffering sleep apnea.

The study shows that diabetics who lost about 24 pounds of weight in a year were three times more likely to nearly eliminate the number of sleep apnea episodes compared to those who did not lose weight.

For the study of 264 obese patients with type 2 diabetes, Gary Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University and colleagues from six other universities tested how weight loss could affect sleep apnea.

In one group, diabetes patients received a weight loss training program, including 175 minutes of exercise each week and a portion-controlled diet. In another group, diabetes patients were given three sections in a year of education on diabetes management through diet, physical activity and social support.

After one year, those who were on the weight loss program lost an average of 24 pounds compared to one pound for the group of patients who received information only.

The patients who lost 24 pounds were three times more likely to have complete remission of sleep apnea, compared to those who lost one pound only (13.6 percent vs. 3.5 percent).  Severe sleep apnea was 50 percent less likely to occur in those with greater weight loss.

By David Liu davidl at foodconsumer dot org
edited by Rachel Stockton rachels at foodconsumer dot org