Obesity and Sleep Apnea

Obesity is classified when the BMI of the individual is above 30. For those who know less about it, the body mass index or BMI is the measurement of the body mass with respect to the height. Though in clinical evaluation, one’s gender, age, and level of fitness are also calculated. Obesity is termed as an illness as it brings several other medical complications along with it if left untreated for long. These illnesses include sleep apnea, hypertension, asthma, heart diseases, cholesterol, and respiratory diseases and more. Obesity can be effectively resolved through weight reduction surgery.

Today we are going to discuss one such particular respiratory disease, namely Sleep Apnea and how it can be resolved. But let’s start by understanding them separately, a little.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a metabolic disease in which the person begins accumulating too much fat, to a limit when it starts to interfere with everyday life and adversely affects health.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a respiratory condition, in which the person, involuntary stops breathing for a period during sleep. The duration ranges between 10-20 seconds usually. This discontinuation of breathing can lead to deprivation of the oxygen in the body and as a result, it wakes the person abruptly from sleep. It can happen either due to some sleep disorder, underlying respiratory illness or obesity. Prolonged, untreated sleep apnea can have devastating effects on health.

How Obesity can Trigger Sleep Apnea?

Excess body weight has been found associated with many respiratory conditions and it happens as extra body weight makes the lungs work extra hard. Obesity leads to fat accumulation in various regions of the body. The neck is one of them. This fat deposition on the neck adds extra pressure on the windpipe. As a result, the respiration gets interrupted briefly. This causes a more drastic effect during sleep, leading to sleep apnea. Thus, it can be said that obesity is a very big risk factor for sleep apnea.

How it Affects the Patient and Family?

Sleep apnea is closely associated with loud snoring as well. While sleep apnea is harmful to the patient, the snoring can be a big bother for the family living with the same boundary as it affects their quality of sleep. Over a long period, the sleep apnea leads to disruption of sleep cycle regularly. This sleep deprivation causes the onset of several issues for both the patient and her family.

It is not uncommon for the family, (particularly spouse) of the people undergoing the surgery to notice that the surgery reduces the snoring significance.

What Can be Done to Resolve it?

Sleep apnea can be managed effectively with the help of the respiratory machine. But in case this happened due to obesity, its best to go for weight loss surgery. The obesity surgery will not only resolve sleep apnea but will also improve several other respiratory illnesses along with obesity that was a bothersome condition anyway.