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The Link Between Obesity and Sleep Apnea

Submitted by New Jersey Snoring Solutions on Sat 07/26/2014 - 09:15

At New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions, West Orange sleep apnea dentistDr. Ivan F. Stein realizes there are several potential causes of sleep apnea, a breathing disorder in which an individual temporarily stops breathing while sleeping — as many as 50 times per hour. However, obesity is one of the principal causes of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). What exactly is the link between obesity and OSA? Read on to find out.

How Obesity Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When a person is excessively overweight or suffers from obesity, most of the organs and tissues in the body are also enlarged. When an individual suffering from obesity has an increased amount of fat throughout the neck area, an enlarged tongue and enlarged tonsils, these traits can put an excessive amount of pressure on the airway, causing the throat muscles to collapse during sleep.

In fact, measuring the circumference of someone’s neck is often a good indicator of whether that person will suffer from or does suffer from sleep apnea. Obese women with a neck circumference of at least 16 inches and obese men with a neck circumference of at least 17 inches are more prone to developing sleep apnea.

A Perpetual Cycle

Unfortunately, those suffering from sleep apnea also tend to eat more due to their poor sleep habits. Although the reason for the relationship between sleep deprivation and increased hunger is not yet clear, there is a definite correlation between the two. Poor, non-restorative sleep can also make an individual less likely to exercise during the day because they feel exhausted from the bouts of sleep apnea that they experienced the night before.

In addition, individuals with sleep apnea often have high blood pressure, an elevated fasting glucose level and high cholesterol, all of which can be compounded by both sleep deprivation and obesity. Thus, obesity leading to sleep apnea leading to increased weight gain and obesity-related co-morbid health conditions is a vicious cycle.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, whether your condition is a result of obesity or another underlying cause, schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Stein of New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions today by calling (855) 949-7667. Dr. Stein and his team offer a range of OSA treatment options to help you get a good night’s sleep and live a healthier lifestyle overall.