by Marianna Kovitch, D.M.D., DABDSM
Obesity is a major contributor to sleep apnea. Unfortunately, many of the health impacts from sleep apnea make it harder for an individual suffering from the condition to lose weight. However, adequate sleep apnea treatment not only improves your sleep and breathing, but when combined with weight loss strategies, can also help with success in losing weight.
The Impact of Sleep Apnea on Health
Sleep apnea poses many risks to a patient’s health. While patients often discover a sleep apnea diagnosis because of snoring, the condition impacts many other areas of one’s health, such as:
• Interrupted breathing during sleep
• Poor quality of sleep or restlessness while sleeping
• Problems with memory or concentration
• Irritability and mood swings
• Weight gain
• Sore throat
• Morning headaches
• Gasping for air
• Increased daytime fatigue
• Reduced cognitive function
How Sleep Apnea Limits Weight Loss
According to the American Thoracic Society, losing 5% to 10% of an obese person’s body weight can improve or resolve obstructive sleep apnea. Yet, the poor sleep associated with sleep apnea makes it much harder to lose weight.
Symptoms like fatigue and reduced cognitive function inhibit the focus needed to implement healthy eating and exercise changes. In addition, interrupted or less sleep creates changes in metabolism and hormones, which tie directly to weight gain. Plus, research shows that people are more likely to overeat when tired.
Altogether, sleep disruption not only makes losing weight harder, but also makes weight gain more likely.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Leads to Improved Weight Loss
The good news is that one promising study shows that treating sleep apnea may help obese patients lose weight.
Patients frequently ask if losing weight will help treat sleep apnea. While the answer is yes, not moving forward with treatment can make weight loss strategies feel frustrating. A better approach is to incorporate weight loss strategies with sleep apnea treatment.
The CPAP machine is the most commonly recommended treatment for sleep apnea. This machine covers a patient’s nose while they sleep to deliver a
continuous stream of air. Patients see great results, including improved sleep, with CPAP machines.
Patients often resist using the CPAP machine because it can be uncomfortable. For these patients, oral appliances offer another treatment for sleep apnea. The patient wears a custom appliance that shifts the lower jaw forward, allowing the patient to breathe unobstructed.
Both treatment options improve the symptoms associated with sleep apnea. Patients experience less fatigue and improved concentration, both of which reduce barriers to implementing a weight loss program.
Atlanta Smiles focuses on total body wellness. Dentistry is more than simply dealing with teeth. It involves the treatment, aesthetics and diagnosis of oral health issues. Plus, our oral health impacts our entire body.
We treat sleep apnea with custom-designed and crafted dental appliances. In addition, we coordinate with other sleep disorder professionals to build the best treatment plan to help our patients find lasting sleep apnea solutions.
In addition, we offer nutritional counseling to aid in weight loss and address the symptoms of obesity. We aim to help our patients enhance their wellness and quality of life.
Make weight loss easier with sleep apnea treatment at Atlanta Smiles. Learn about all the discreet options for sleep apnea here.
Marianna Kovitch, D.M.D., is a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (DABDSM). Dr. Kovitch received her Doctor of Dental Medicine from the Medical College of Georgia after earning her Bachelor of Science with honors in chemistry as well as recognition in research publications for her work in biochemistry from Georgia State University. Dr. Kovitch has been an active board member of the Academy of General Dentistry since 2013 and has been a contributor to the development of dentistry excellence in Georgia.