It might seem a little strange to think that Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines and weight loss are linked.
But they have more to do with each other than previously thought.
A recent study from the Endocrine Society provides data showing that the combination of CPAP machines and weight loss regimens should be considered and implemented by those diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
Additionally, patients with sleep apnea who used CPAP machines along with a workout routine lost on average 5.7 more pounds per month than patients who did not treat their sleep apnea.
If you have sleep apnea and want to improve your health, keep reading for the complete breakdown on sleep apnea and how using a CPAP machine could help you with weight loss.
Who Has Sleep Apnea?
People living with sleep apnea can temporarily stop breathing up to 30 times an hour – that’s once every two minutes.
Anyone can be at risk for developing sleep apnea. Among the typical risk factors, old age and being male affects the likelihood of developing sleep apnea.
However, some studies show that obesity commonly causes sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles of a person relax too much during sleep, causing the airways to be obstructed in a noticeable way.
Those who suffer from obesity are more likely to experience this due to pressure being put on the throat and surrounding areas.
Risks of Sleep Apnea
The potential risks of sleep apnea can be as minor as not sleeping well to putting you in danger for heart attack or stroke and depression. No matter how severe your symptoms are, you should be sure to get diagnosed with sleep apnea and start proper treatment.
Here are some of the most common risks of sleep apnea. If you have any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.
Sleep apnea is scary – so it makes sense if you are sleeping lightly or not as peacefully as usual because you are trying to make sure to are keeping a good airflow going. People with sleep apnea might never complete a full sleep cycle, meaning they never get to the deep sleep cycle the body needs to actually feel rested.
Waking Up Often
Waking up repeatedly in your sleep might not always be apparent to you, but can actually cause your quality of sleep to suffer. Breaking your sleep cycle reduces your chances of getting a good night’s sleep and leaves you feeling drowsy the next day.
If you’re unsure if you wake up often, you may be able to set up a night camera to see when your sleep disturbances occur.
Poor Concentration During the Day
Poor sleep habits don’t stop when you get out of bed in the morning. Lack of sleep due to sleep apnea can cause drowsiness, poor focus, and can have other impacts on your daily routines.
Your sleep schedule isn’t the only thing that can suffer from sleep apnea. Prolonged sleep apnea can cause risks to your heart health, such as high blood pressure, heart attack, or stroke.
Insufficient airflow means that lower oxygen levels will appear in your blood. This causes the blood vessels in your lungs to constrict, a leading cause of pulmonary hypertension.
Sleep Apnea and Weight Gain
It’s a fact that weight gain is likely to increase chances of developing sleep apnea – weight gain restricts and obstructs airways, making it harder to breathe.
Weight gain also causes excess tissue to form at the back of the throat, making the airways more difficult to push air through.
However, research shows that while weight gain causes sleep apnea, sleep apnea can also cause weight gain.
This research shows that in men with sleep apnea, the body produces low levels of leptin – the hormone that controls appetite and tells your body it doesn’t need to eat anymore. There are also high levels of ghrelin – the hormone that gives the brain hunger cues.
So while your body is unable to know when to stop eating, it’s also constantly telling you that you need to eat.
This hormone imbalance is also to blame for increase weight gain with sleep apnea and continues the cycle of having sleep apnea due to weight gain.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that as little as eight nights of interrupted sleep or minor sleep deprivation can lead to an overproduction of grhelin. The research shows that someone who is even just mildly sleepy can increase their caloric intake by 500 calories a day.
Even something as small as 500 calories a day on most days can result in several extra pounds gained each month.
Poor sleep separate from sleep apnea can actually cause sleep apnea, since weight gain can be caused by poor sleep.
CPAP Machines and Weight Loss
The good news: While sleep apnea and weight gain are linked, CPAP machines and weight loss are also linked.
CPAP benefits weight loss by regulating those same hormones, leptin and grehlin, that influence your appetite. Using your CPAP machine every time you go to bed or take a nap is recommended in order to see results with this hormone regulation.
Regular use of your CPAP machine has also been shown to cause an increase in energy, improve mood and mental health, and improve sleep quality. These are all factors in increasing the desire to exercise and engage in physical activity, which are contributing factors in weight loss.
One of the best ways to see weight loss results from using your CPAP machine is to exercise regularly. Your CPAP machine and diet aren’t likely to help you lose weight alone.
In fact, the same study showing that the benefits of CPAP machine weight loss is a functional solution included work out routines for the patients in the study. The study recorded the weights of 300 obese patients and put them on a regimen of a low-calorie diet of 800 calories a day, a workout plan tailored to them, and the use of a CPAP machine for sleep.
In the study, 89 patients had no apnea symptoms so they did not use CPAP, 164 had sleep apnea symptoms but did not use CPAP, and 47 had sleep apnea symptoms and did use CPAP.
On average the patients on this CPAP weight lossplan lost 27 pounds, those with sleep apnea who did not use CPAP lost 21 pounds, and those without symptoms lost 19 pounds.
While there are individual contributing factors for every person on their journey with weight loss and sleep apnea. Exercise paired with the use of a CPAP machine is usually the best way to lose weight.
Does Weight Loss Cure Sleep Apnea?
There’s no clear link between weight loss after sleep apnea treatment and a cure for sleep apnea.
While weight loss can certainly help lower your chances of developing sleep apnea, the odds of completely beating sleep apnea depends on the circumstances of the individual.
If weight is the primary reason for your sleep apnea, it’s possible that losing weight can help you. However, factors such as age and gender might contribute to the condition. So losing weight won’t change the fact that those factors are present.
Cpap Machines and Weight Loss; Alternative Solutions
The most important factor in weight loss when using a CPAP machine is determining whether or not it is safe for you. Although studies show weight loss is one of the best ways to go in terms of helping you sleep apnea, it’s not for everyone.
Surgery to get rid of the excess tissue in the back of your throat is one option. This excess tissue is one reason why you might be experiencing sleep apnea in the first place.
Surgery is typically a last resort, though, and should only be done if weight loss is not a realistic option for you.
Learn More About Sleeping Right
CPAP machines and weight loss could be the dream team you never knew about.
Talk to your doctor about proper diets and workout routines while using your CPAP machine to make sure you are on track to losing weight in a healthy way. Weight loss using CPAP machinescould be the right option for you.
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