Obesity is a known risk factor for sleep apnea, so understandably many patients wonder if they’ll need to pursue a sleep apnea treatment at all if they just take off a few pounds. Could diet and exercise be all that is needed to kick sleep apnea to the curb?
Indeed, losing weight can contribute to a sleep apnea cure, as obesity does factor into the issue. Excess tissue around the neck and torso can interfere with the airway during sleep, exacerbating the respiratory obstruction.
However, weight loss alone is rarely sufficient for a sleep apnea cure. Most patients find that they will still need to wear some sort of nighttime appliance in order to get relief from the condition.
Not only is the sleep apnea unlikely to resolve with weight loss alone, the apnea can actually thwart a patient’s weight loss efforts. The daytime drowsiness that results from sleep apnea can limit a patient’s motivation to eat well and exercise.
If you have problems with sleep apnea and find that it does not respond to weight loss, you can consult with an oral surgeon to be fitted with an appliance. Often patients find that a device similar to a mouthguard is quite effective in minimizing the symptoms. Other patients may need to turn to a continuous positive airway pressure to find relief.
Although an oral surgeon may be involved in sleep apnea treatment, the need for an invasive procedure is rare. Most patients find that their sleep apnea symptoms improve with more conservative treatments.
Getting effective treatment for sleep apnea is important, and it will give you benefits beyond being more alert at work or school. Sleep apnea has been linked with conditions like stroke and depression, and addressing the apnea can cut your chances of issues with these conditions.
If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with our oral surgeons to learn more about your treatment options. A weight loss program may be recommended for patients who are overweight or obese, but additional interventions are also likely necessary. Contact ORA® Oral Surgery, Sleep Disorder & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 to learn more.