Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Waistlines Have Seen Better Days

According to the New York Times blog, Prescriptions, a new study by researchers at Emory University estimates that 103 million American adults will be obese by 2018. That’s 43 percent of adults! In contrast, 31 percent of people were obese in 2008.

If this trend continues, in 2018, Americans will spend one in five health care dollars treating obesity-related illness.

Before it comes to that, there are a few things people can do to prevent this rise in obesity. Eat healthy, exercise and make sure to get restful sleep.

People who don’t receive high quality sleep have an increased risk for obesity.

Many people think that they get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. But some of them are not getting restful sleep. And apnea is the reason.

Sleep apnea happens when a person stops breathing for 10 to 30 seconds, sometimes a minute or longer, often hundreds of times a night. They may not remember waking up, but these people’s brain forces them awake throughout the night to breathe. This fragmented sleep prevents restorative sleep.

Trained dentists can treat apnea with oral appliances that are worn at night. These appliances open up a person’s blocked airway, allowing better airflow and higher sleep quality. Find-a-dentist trained in oral appliance therapy if you suffer from sleep apnea.

Treating sleep apnea is a key way to decrease your risk for obesity.

In the coming years, some states will be more widely affected by this epidemic than others.

By 2018, Colorado will be the only state where less than 30 percent of adults will be obese. In Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota, more than half of adults will be obese.

Regardless of where you live, if you suspect that sleep apnea is affecting your sleep and overall health, visit a sleep center near you.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.