Sleep Apnea – Diseases Associated With Obesity

There is no shortage of diseases associated with excess weight and obesity. While some are very obvious – such as reduced movement and joint pain – others are more commonly found during routine checkups and blood work ups – like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. These silent diseases, with few outward or consistent symptoms can lead to serious follow-on disorders.

An often-overlooked, but not-so-silent, disease associated with obesity is obstructive sleep apnea. This condition manifests when the airway is either partially or completely obstructed, temporarily. The result is often loud snoring and poor sleep. At best, the sufferer will feel groggy throughout the next day, having not had restorative sleep they need to function normally. Significant others may also be affected by snoring and fits and starts throughout the evening. The effect on relationships cannot be overstated.

At worst however, sleep apnea can be dangerous as oxygen is cut off from the brain when the blockages occur.

Unfortunately, obstructive sleep apnea is hard to diagnose. Doctors cannot test for it (without a sleep study) and patients cannot easily monitor their symptoms. Typically a significant other is the first line of detection – when they’re finally sick and tired of the waking at night.

What Are The Treatment Options?

Many of us have heard of the dreaded CPAP machine, a mask of sorts, used to relieve some of the obstruction caused by sleep apnea. However CPAPs may not only be uncomfortable for many, but also very intrusive. Most patients do not find it to be an ideal solution for their symptoms and ultimately, it does not address the root cause of sleep apnea.

However, sleep apnea is often improved or eliminated through weight loss and, for those that qualify, bariatric surgery. With a comprehensive diagnosis and effective treatment, patients may begin to sleep more normally and return to their usual activities and routines with a great deal more energy and mental clarity. The health risks associated with sleep apnea will be reduced or eliminated.

Patients with a BMI of 35 or over, suffering from one or more diseases associated with obesity, such as sleep apnea, may qualify for bariatric surgery, if other weight loss treatments have been unsuccessful. While not all ailments allows the patient to qualify for surgery, sleep apnea does. As part of the pre-op testing and qualification process, we may order a comprehensive sleep study to determine the severity of the condition.

For more information about sleep apnea and how we can help, we encourage you to contact our office and we look forward to assisting you in addressing this debilitating problem.