Weight Reduction in the Management of Sleep Apnea and Snoring

There is a significant relationship between obesity, sleep apnea and snoring.

  1. Most sleep apnea patients are overweight.
  1. neck size is usually >16 inches in males.
  2. recent weight gain is often reported.
  1. Weight loss studies show that it:
  1. reduces and/or eliminates severity of apnea and snoring.
  2. may allow control with an oral appliance instead of CPAP.
  3. may or may not occur as a result of CPAP use alone.
  1. Weight gain studies show that it:
  1. increases the severity of sleep apnea and snoring.
  2. can induce or cause sleep apnea and snoring.
  3. occurs in some patients despite treatment by CPAP or surgery.

Good weight loss programs generally include the following elements:

  1. a medical evaluation of thyroid function and follow up.
  2. an assessment of lifestyle issues and attitudes about food & exercise.
  3. recommendations that achieve a reduction in caloric intake and an
  4. increase in exercise that is sustained over the balance of your life.
  5. a slow reduction in weight that is obtained through a change in eating
  6. habits and increased activity

Common experience shows that most patients need professional assistance in this process including:

  1. dietary and life style counseling.
  2. development and maintenance of an exercise program.
  3. consideration of initial support from an appetite suppressant medication such as Mirapex for some patients.

Weight loss will also lower blood pressure and lessen the risk for numerous other problems from type II diabetes to arthritic joint disease. If you are overweight, the medical consequences are always significant.

Recommendation: We suggest that you discuss this issue with your primary care physician in a follow up appointment after your sleep study. The increased energy and alertness you feel from the use of CPAP will not alone guarantee weight loss.