The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

There are many potential health complications that come with carrying too much weight, and obstructive sleep apnea is certainly one of them. There are approximately 22 million Americans who have sleep apnea, and the condition may be putting their collective health in jeopardy.

In this month’s blog post, our team of bariatric experts here at Weight Loss Institute of Arizona focuses on sleep apnea and the many ways in which it can deteriorate your health. More importantly, we discuss how you can remedy your sleep apnea by controlling your weight.

Obstructive sleep apnea basics

When you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), the soft tissues at the back of your throat collapse while you sleep, blocking your airways. Your brain then rouses you just enough so you can clear your airways and breathe again. 

If this happened once or twice a night, there wouldn’t be a problem, but sleep apnea can occur dozens of times per hour.

The reason weight is connected to OSA is that when you’re overweight or obese, you may have more fatty deposits in your upper respiratory tract, which can narrow the airways. The extra fat may also decrease muscle activity in your throat, which leaves those throat muscles weaker and more prone to allowing your soft tissues to collapse.

If you consider that the prevalence of obesity in the United States is more than 42%, this means that millions of people are vulnerable to developing sleep apnea and the health consequences that come with the condition.

Potential health complications of sleep apnea

As you can imagine, loss of sleep and daytime fatigue are a few of the top complaints when it comes to sleep apnea, since your brain is rousing your body throughout the night.

But this lack of sleep can lead to other issues, because your body requires restorative sleep to perform a number of functions, including:

If you’re not getting the sleep you need because of sleep apnea, you may experience memory loss, hormone imbalances, and a weakened immune system.

Other health issues that are tied to sleep apnea are equally as serious. For example, people with sleep apnea are more prone to:

Outside of these physical issues, people with sleep apnea are more likely to have depression than those who don’t have the sleep disorder.

Resolving your sleep apnea through weight loss

If you have sleep apnea and your doctor is fairly certain that your weight plays a role, we can do our part to resolve the sleep disorder through weight loss surgery. We offer a wide range of weight-loss procedures that range from nonsurgical balloons to gastric bypasses.

In opting for bariatric surgery, you can get to a healthier weight that can better support your overall health and resolve weight-related conditions like sleep apnea.

If you have more questions about the connection between sleep apnea and your weight or you’d like to explore our many weight loss procedures, please contact one of our offices in Tempe, Glendale, Mesa, Tucson, or Phoenix, Arizona.

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