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Solving sleep apnea!

Most patients with sleep apnea or sleep disorders are told by their physician to lose weight if they are overweight.

It’s been assumed that excess weight is a cause of sleep apnea and that when the person loses weight, the sleep apnea would be gone!

Sound too good to be true? Researchers from the Sleep AHEAD study decided to find out.


Firstly, what is sleep apnea again?

Sleep apnea is one or more pauses in breathing while you sleep, which can last from a few seconds to minutes. They can occur 5 to 30 times an hour. Normally breathing starts up again, often with a loud choking sound.

Sleep apnea makes you tired during the day from the lack of quality sleep at night. Sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disease.


The sleep apnea weight loss study

Researchers studied 264 overweight people with type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea for 1 year. They had an average age of 61 years and a BMI of 36. On average they had 23 sleep apnea events (pauses in breathing) a night every hour. Goodness, that sounds exhausting!

They then randomly placed them into 2 groups to lose weight:

  • Group 1: lifestyle weight loss education sessions for obese patients with diabetes.
  • Group 2: group education and support sessions for diabetes. (not weight)

The results …

Weight lost. Those in group 1 lost more weight at the end of the year than group 2. Group 1 lost an average of 10.8kg per person, compared to those in group 2 who lost only 0.6 kg per person.

Sleep apnea events. Those in group 1 decreased the number of sleep apnea events each night by about 10 events per hour, whereas those in group 2 saw no change or a worsening of sleep apnea events each night.

After 1 year, more than 3 times as many people in group 1 no longer had sleep apnea. The researchers concluded that people can expect that weight loss will result in significant improvements in sleep apnea among obese patients with type 2 diabetes.

The research was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.


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About Kellie

Kellie is 37 years old and together with her brother Steve makes up the My Health Software team.

She helps on the websites and gathering news for the programs. Kellie worked in the medical industry prior to having her two children (8 and 6) and has a strong interest in self awareness and management of health conditions.


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