Why Does Weight Contribute to Sleep Apnea?

As your sleep apnea specialists in San Jose, San Ramon, Santa Cruz, and Los Gatos, CA, we want to do all that we can to help our patients overcome sleep apnea. With our oral appliance therapy, we’ll have patients on the right track to getting a better night’s sleep. We’re not simply your providers of high-quality treatment devices though – we’re glad to give you all the support and information you need to tackle this problem head-on. One such topic that we feel is important to discuss is the correlation between weight and sleep apnea.

The Truth About Weight and Sleep Apnea

There are truthfully many contributing factors for sleep apnea, from smoking to hereditary features. However, the most likely contributing factor is often a person’s weight. For all adults, the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea is about 25 percent. Unfortunately, for overweight patients, it’s at about 45 percent. To explain why, let’s start with the definition of obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder where a person’s airflow is impeded by a tongue falling back into the airway, enlarged tonsils, or the throat muscles collapsing. The last reason is the critical one – overweight patients are more likely to have excessive fatty tissues found in the throat. These tissues will make the airway more narrow and when a patient is asleep, the tissues will more readily collapse into the airway. This is how being overweight can lead to sleep apnea.

It Can Be a Vicious Cycle

Just as how being overweight can lead to problems with sleep apnea, sleep apnea can lead to weight gain as well. Having a lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea will decrease the amount of energy that a person has throughout the day. This can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle and decrease a person’s metabolism. Often, decreased quality of sleep will also contribute to a person desiring cravings for unhealthy, sugary foods – another source of weight gain.

One Can Help the Other

While losing a lot of weight may not entirely stop sleep apnea, it can lessen the severity of it. It works the other way as well; by getting treated with our oral appliance therapy, you’ll likely have much more energy during the day and you’ll find it easier to lose weight.

Contact Your Sleep Apnea Specialists Today!

If you have any further questions about sleep apnea, please feel free to contact us. We at Spark Sleep Solutions are glad to help you in any way that we can. If you’d like to schedule an appointment at one of our four convenient locations in San Jose, San Ramon, Santa Cruz, and Los Gatos, we encourage you to give us a call at (408) 490-0182. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!