The condition in whichan individual briefly stops breathing during sleep is known as sleepapnea. Developing this condition canlead to a wide array of other heal issues such as cardiovascular disease anddaytime sleepiness. Due to rising ratesof obesity, sleep apnea is increasing in occurrence and has physiciansconcerned.
A release from MedPageToday advised that the best way to fight sleep apnea is through a reduction inoverall bodyweight. Citing a studyconglomeration of studies done by the American College of Physicians,researchers conclude that intensive weight-loss programs can reduce thedevelopment of sleep apnea in obese patients.
Exercise and diet notonly aid in weight reduction, but also provide sleep benefits such as betteroverall rest and a regular sleep/wake cycle. In overweight persons, the study suggested that a reduction in weightshould be attempted before other more invasive methods are tried.
The most common methodof treating sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) via theuse of a machine. Patients wear a maskas they sleep to keep airways open for continued breathing. But even those being treated with a CPAPmachine can benefit from weight reduction. Researchers from Oivauni Sleep Clinic in Finland reported obese patientswho adapted lifestyle changes, including physical activity and adjustments todiet, were half as likely to have their condition progress from mild to severe.
Weight gain isreported as a factor in elevating the risk of developing sleep apnea, but thesame report also concluded that a reduction in weight can improve thecondition, or even cure it. HenriTuomiehto of the JAMA Internal Medicine Journal advised “With these results, wecan say that if we change our lifestyle… we really can stop the progression ofsleep apnea.”
Preventing or curingsleep apnea is not only important for better rest, but lowers the risk ofdeveloping other conditions such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes, thevery same conditions that exercise and proper diet also aim to prevent. Making healthy lifestyle changes will bringonly positive results to those who embrace them.
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