Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person has one or more pauses in breathing during sleep. A person who has sleep apnea may suffer from daytime sleepiness, difficulty focusing, and even heart failure.

How is sleep apnea linked to overweight?

Obesity is the most important risk factor for sleep apnea. A person who is overweight may have more fat stored around his or her neck. This may make the airway smaller. A smaller airway can make breathing difficult or loud (because of snoring), or breathing may stop altogether for short periods of time. In addition, fat stored in the neck and throughout the body may produce substances that cause inflammation. Inflammation in the neck is a risk factor for sleep apnea.

How can weight loss help?

Weight loss usually improves sleep apnea. Weight loss may help to decrease neck size and lessen inflammation.

Source: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/health_risks.htm#g