If you’re overweight, your risk for sleep apnea is 2-5 times higher compared to patients with a healthy weight, and the risk skyrockets even higher in obese patients. With board certifications in obesity, nutrition, and internal medicine, Dr. Adrienne Youdim, MD, FACP, uses holistic lifestyle interventions to help patients in Beverly Hills, California, lose weight, improve their sleep apnea, and get off treatments like CPAP. If you’d like to prevent or treat sleep apnea, schedule an appointment online or call the office.
When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing while you sleep. These apnea episodes don’t happen only occasionally -- they’re constantly repeated while you sleep. In mild cases, you’ll stop breathing at least five times every hour, but you can suffer 30 or more apnea episodes per hour if you have severe sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea occurs when soft tissues like your tongue relax while you sleep. As a result, the tissues fall toward the back of your throat where they partially or completely block the airway. You can also develop sleep apnea when you have enlarged tonsils and adenoids, nose blockages like polyps, or you’re overweight.
Being overweight is the biggest risk factor for sleep apnea. Carrying excess fat in the soft tissues surrounding your airway increases the chance that your breathing will be blocked. Additionally, the pressure from belly fat affects lung volume and makes it easier for the upper airway to collapse while you sleep.
Loud snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea, followed by fatigue during the day. The problem is that most patients aren’t aware of their snoring. In most cases, their partner or someone in the household comments on their snoring. Housemates may also notice a cycle of snoring, followed by silence when you stop breathing, then a gasp or snort when you take a breath.
Fatigue during the day is another common symptom. You may also need to make frequent trips to the bathroom during the night and experience a headache in the morning or have uncontrolled hypertension.
Yes. Every time you stop breathing throughout the night, the loss of oxygen triggers a sequence of events that significantly increase your risk for:
In some patients, sleep apnea may also lead to memory loss.
The first line of treatment for mild-to-moderate cases of sleep apnea is weight loss. It only takes a 5% reduction in your weight to reduce your apnea-hypopnea (AHI) score, which is determined during a sleep study and tells the number of times you stop breathing every hour.
If you already use continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) to treat moderate-to-severe sleep apnea, lifestyle intervention can help get you off CPAP.
To schedule an appointment with a recognized weight-loss expert, call Dr. Adrienne Youdim, MD, FACP, or book an appointment online.