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Does Sleep Apnea Lead to Weight Gain

Does Sleep Apnea Lead to Weight Gain?

Sleep apnea and weight gain are often connected in a bidirectional relationship. On one hand, obesity is a known risk factor for developing obstructive sleep apnea. Excess weight can lead to the accumulation of fat around the upper airway, narrowing it and increasing the likelihood of airway collapse during sleep. Therefore, being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing sleep apnea.

On the other hand, sleep apnea can also contribute to weight gain. The frequent disruptions in breathing during sleep can affect sleep quality and lead to sleep deprivation or fragmented sleep. Poor sleep can disrupt the balance of appetite-regulating hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin. Leptin, which suppresses appetite, decreases with sleep deprivation, while ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, increases. This imbalance can lead to increased hunger and overeating, which may result in weight gain.

Additionally, sleep apnea-related daytime sleepiness can reduce energy levels and motivation for physical activity, making it more challenging to engage in regular exercise and burn calories. As a result, individuals with untreated sleep apnea may be less likely to maintain a healthy lifestyle and manage their weight effectively.

It is essential to recognize the potential link between sleep apnea and weight gain and address both issues to improve overall health. Weight loss through a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise can help reduce the severity of sleep apnea in overweight individuals. For those already diagnosed with sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is a common treatment that helps keep the airway open during sleep, improving breathing and reducing the associated health risks. If you suspect you or someone you know may have sleep apnea, it is important to seek a proper evaluation and diagnosis from a healthcare professional.


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