Sleep Apnea & Weight

For many patients, losing weight, or even maintaining a certain weight, can be difficult, and sleep apnea can make the struggle even harder. Our dentist can tell you more about the link between sleep apnea and weight in Honolulu, Hawaii, when you call Dental Sleep Medicine Hawaii at 808-946-6326 to schedule a visit with Dr. Dennis Nagata. Our team can help you find a solution for your sleep apnea, which may help you get your weight under control at last.

Weight is typically easier to gain than to lose, which is probably why so many more adults in the U.S. each year are becoming obese. Obesity often worsens symptoms of sleep apnea, and in many cases, it can cause it or increase a patient’s risk for developing it. In fact, it is estimated that 60-90% of adults with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight, with their body mass index as a defining factor in their condition.

Excess weight can create fat deposits in a person’s neck (also called pharyngeal fat). It can narrow a patient’s airway, possibly leading it to tighten or become blocked during sleep. That is why snoring is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. Excess fat can also compress a person’s chest wall and reduce lung capacity, leading to diminished airflow and greater likelihood that the upper airway will collapse while you sleep.

People who are obese may also have obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) and obstructive sleep apnea as a result. Up to 90% of patients with OHS have sleep apnea because the pressure against their chest wall interferes with their ability to take deep breaths. There is a greater risk for OHS in patients with a BMI greater than 50.

Sleep apnea can also cause a patient to gain weight and become obese. Poor sleep can upset your eating schedule and interfere with appetite-stimulating hormones, specifically decreasing leptin (an appetite-suppressing hormone) and increasing ghrelin (and appetite-activating hormone.) This causes increased cravings for calorie-dense foods and overeating and can lead you to eat more often. It can also mean you are too tired to cook yourself a nutritious meal and end up eating fast food instead. Treating your sleep apnea can help you finally lose that stubborn weight.

We always encourage lifestyle changes to not only help diminish symptoms of sleep apnea, but also your overall health as well. Obesity, combined with lack of sleep, can cause a slippery slope where your health severely declines. We want to help you avoid health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems and more, and we understand that losing weight can be difficult for some people. In the meantime, we will do whatever we can to ensure that you get a restful night’s sleep by treating your symptoms of sleep apnea.

At our practice, we look at your overall health when determining an appropriate solution for your case of sleep apnea. We are committed to helping you feel great again through better sleep. Call our team today to schedule a consultation for sleep apnea treatment!