Meta: A new study has linked obesity reduction psychotherapy to a reduction in obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.
It’s no secret that sleep apnea and excess body weight are often related. In fact, sleep apnea and obesity have been linked in many studies in the past. That’s because obesity or excess weight can put pressure on the airway, causing the airway to struggle to remain open during the night. This causes you to gasp for air or snore while sleeping. Furthermore, excess fat in the tongue can also contribute to airway blockages, causing sleep apnea, too.
Recently, a study in Serbia attempted to determine whether or not weight intervention might help sleep apnea symptoms. The study, published in The Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases followed 34 patients who were assigned obesity intervention psychotherapy. Of the initial 34 patients, 32 remained in the program for the prescribed amount of time (one year). Of those who attended therapy, researchers saw not just the subjects’ depression decrease over the one-year period, they also saw a decrease in BMI, fatty liver, and even a decrease in sleep apnea symptoms. The patients also experienced an increase in self-esteem, as reported by a questionnaire.
So, what does that mean for the rest of us? Well, for starters it could mean that losing excess body weight could improve our sleep apnea symptoms, as well as many other areas of our health. Of course, this is usually easier said than done, but patients in the study found success with psychotherapy geared towards obesity reduction. Whether you should try this type of program is of course a personal decision between yourself and possibly your doctor, but any weight loss program should still help reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
If you are unsure about which weight loss program to choose, speak to your physician. They may have a program in mind that could help you or can offer advice about a program you’ve found on your own.
Losing weight will not guarantee an improvement to sleep apnea symptoms, but it will improve your overall health and well-being.
For those with sleep apnea, there are solutions beyond CPAP that can help your breathing and overall wellness, such as a custom sleep orthotic from Dr. Abelar, Dentist in San Deigo. To learn more about these devices and how they can help you, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Abelar today!