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Weight Loss Effective Cure For Sleep Apnea in Obese People

8/19 8:33:14
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal found that weight loss can significantly improve and potentially eliminate sleep apnea symptoms in obese men and people who are obese. According to a study published in the British Medical Journal found that weight loss can significantly improve and potentially eliminate sleep apnea symptoms in obese men and people who are obese.

Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses or blockages of breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea is recognized as a problem by others witnessing the individual during episodes or is suspected because of its effects on the body (sequelae). In sleep apnea, your breathing stops or gets very shallow while you are sleeping. Each pause in breathing typically lasts 10 to 20 seconds or more. These pauses can occur 20 to 30 times or more an hour. This results in poor sleep quality that makes you tired during the day. If untreated, sleep apnea can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease, and in serious cases, even death.

Scientists, led by Kari Johansson, from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden and colleagues examined 63 obese men with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 40, aged 30 to 65 years. The participants had moderate to severe sleep apnoea, as measured by the Apnoea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), the standard index of severity for the disease. They were all receiving treatment for sleep apnea in the form of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which alleviates symptoms of sleep apnea by producing more normal breathing patterns during sleep.

The study was randomized, in this case meaning that participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The control group continued their typical diet throughout the nine-week study, while those assigned to the intervention group were placed on a very low calorie diet (VLCD).

Results show that Participants in the intervention group lost an average of 19 pounds during the nine week study, and the number of apnea events they experienced was cut by more than half. At the end of the study, one in six participants in the intervention group was cured of sleep apnea, half had only mild sleep apnea, and none of the patients were suffering from severe sleep apnea. The participants who began the study with severe sleep apnea showed the greatest benefit from the weight loss program.

In order to achieve such significant weight loss, individuals in the intervention group received a very low calorie diet (VLCD), consisting of an initial energy input of 554 kcal/day for 7 weeks followed by a successive increase in caloric intake for up to 1,500 kcal per day for the next 2 weeks. The control group maintained their normal dietary habits during the 9-week study period, but was afterwards offered a VLCD programme.

We often use VLCD in the form of a low calorie powder as part of the treatment of obese patients with a serious comorbidity, such as sleep apnoea," says Dr. Johansson. "The powder is mixed with water and replaces every meal of the day, which gives a rapid loss of weight. It's also a good way of boosting the patients' motivation."

The VLCD was a success, but the researchers make a point to note that the VLCD is just the first phase of a long-term weight management program. In order to keep the weight off, patients will need to make changes in their diet and exercise habits. To help participants in the study maintain their weight loss, the researchers invited them to take part in a year-long behavioral change program.

The data from this study suggests that weight loss may indeed be a promising treatment strategy for moderate to severe sleep apnea.
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