by Rob Breedlove, Sleep Apnea Expert
Working in the OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) field has opened my eyes to a lot of things and given me a little bit more understanding as to why Obesity and OSA are such terrible diseases and even worse “bedfellows.”
To those who are obese, related to someone obese, married to someone obese, friends with someone who is obese, etc., I write to you.
I write not to help you figure out the root problems to obesity, but maybe to shed some light on things that could be making that obesity far more than just overweight issues and may be causing issues that can actually be stopped.
Let’s discuss quickly what sleep apnea is. First off, when I say sleep apnea, what I mean is Obstructive Sleep Apnea or OSA.
In everyday terms, OSA is when your tongue falls back and combined with the soft tissue in the back of your throat it blocks off your airway and causes you to stop breathing. Sound fun? It’s not.
Let’s quickly hit on why OSA is so bad for you. It has two main faults:
First, it leads you to wake up many times throughout the night which keeps you from REM. When you don’t get complete sleep (REM is absolutely necessary for this) your body starts to shut down in many ways and you start to have disease issues and more.
Second, and probably the worst issue, is you can’t breathe and don’t get air when OSA is going on. When we don’t get air, we eventually die when this goes on for long enough.
Mix bad sleep with no air and you get real bad problems.
OSA brings with it many terrible problems including but not limited to diabetes, depression, heart attack, stroke, increased risk of cancer, GERD, anxiety, high cholesterol and more.
But specifically, when it comes to obesity, a big problem is your body’s ability to produce leptin, a hormone that helps us curb our appetite.
When you have OSA your body produces less of this which then increases the amount of food we eat. This causes us to have more OSA and then less leptin is produced and it just goes down from there.
Let’s focus on the good! When you get tested for OSA, and this can almost always be done with sleep apnea testing at home, you can find out if you have OSA.
Once you find out you have it there a few different ways to treat it. You can get a CPAP mask, which some doctors are prone to always prescribe, or you can get an oral appliance from a dentist (starting to be more and more popular.)
There is surgery, of course, but this is generally thought of to be less effective and extremely painful.
Once you do get a treatment in place this can cause you to normalize your sleep and you could start seeing a huge reduction in weight and medications and such.
This is great news for those who are obese because it gives a ray of hope. It could bring a great deal of energy and this could spark a desire to do even more to reduce the obesity.
So if you are obese I highly encourage you to go get tested for OSA. If you do have OSA then go get treated.
Once treated stick with the treatment and manage your sleep and I feel quite strongly you can help reduce your obesity tremendously.
Good Luck and sleep well!
(published August 24, 2015)
Rob Breedlove helps motivated doctors and dentists enhance their patient care and add practice revenue by adding sleep apnea programs to their practices. The secrets to success in treating OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) with Oral Appliance Therapy or CPAP Therapy in a dental and/or a medical office are in his short articles on LinkedIn.com/in/robbreedlove. If you need help carrying them out, please contact Rob to discuss at (801) 427-9655, email him at [email protected] or follow him @robblov on Twitter.