The lack of healthy sleep can affect the way the body digests food and the way that it processes glucose. Sleep-related comorbidities are problems that arise from health conditions and seem to go hand-in-hand with obesity. These include snoring, sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and breathing problems.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, it is estimated that over 26% of adults in the United States ages 30 to 70 have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea comorbidities are dramatic in obese individuals and can develop stroke, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and even cancer. Here we go over what OSA is, its causes, and how to cure it.
What is Sleep Apnea?
A type of sleep apnea called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a chronic condition that affects one’s breathing and can even make one’s breathing stop. Obesity has a direct relationship with sleep apnea. The fat tissues deposited in the upper respiratory tract restrict the airway leading to OSA.
Sleep apnea is characterized by respiration interrupting several times per hour for about 10 seconds. OSA occurs when the back of the throat collapses and blocks off the airways. This disorder is accompanied by snoring and gasping while you sleep.
Sleep apnea can cause a lack of sleep, daytime drowsiness, irritability, and impaired mental/physical functionality. Other health complications from sleep apnea,
- Chronic fatigue
- High Blood Pressure
- Cardiovascular problems
- Type 2 diabetes
- Liver problems
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea can be caused by neurological conditions where the brain fails to send appropriate signals to the muscles that enable you to breathe. It can also be triggered by stomach acid entering the esophagus, which causes spasms in the vocal cords for those who suffer from acid reflux (GERD).
Obesity can play a large role in causing OSA due to the body’s excess weight pressing down on the chest and lungs. Sleep apnea can also be associated with metabolic syndrome – a combination of disorders related to obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and more.
Bariatric Surgery Can Help with Sleep Apnea
Bariatric surgery has been proven to be an effective tool in achieving long-term weight loss success. Bariatrics can remedy many disorders, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, two conditions tied to metabolic syndrome.
Weigh loss surgery procedures, such as gastric sleeve (VSG) and RNY gastric bypass, have been shown to improve the quality and duration of sleep. This is because weight loss is a great way to free up the airways and eliminate their obstruction.
In 2013, a study published in Obesity Surgery Journal showed that there is, in fact, a large correlation between obesity and the development of OSA. Upon review of whether or not bariatric surgery affects treating OSA, researchers found that it has a profound effect.
Extra Surgical Care Needed in Patients with OSA
While there is still less than a 5% chance of complications for those who undergo bariatric surgery that have OSA, it is recommended that candidates be carefully checked and diagnosed prior to surgery. This is because some of the anesthetic agents and narcotics that are used during operation affect the airway, worsening the condition, which can be a risk.
Ready to see if you qualify for bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery can free you up from comorbidities related to obesity, including sleep apnea. However, if you suffer from OSA and want to undergo bariatric surgery, consult your primary care physician to ensure appropriate measures are taken before committing to this life-changing tool.