Monday, December 7, 2009

Eating Less and Breathing Better: Apnea Patients Benefit from Diet

A new study published in the British Medical Journal shows that weight loss can help lower sleep apnea severity.

Sleep apnea occurs with the soft tissue in a person’s throat collapses, closing the airway during sleep. These pauses in breath can occur for 10 to 30 seconds, sometimes for a minute or more, hundreds of times a night. There are many risks associated with sleep apnea.

This study included 63 obese men between the ages of 30 and 65 who had moderate to severe sleep apnea.

Each man received CPAP treatment. Thirty of the men also underwent an intense weight loss program for nine weeks. The other 33 men maintained their normal eating habits during this time.

Weight loss played a major role in the outcome of this study.

After the nine weeks, no one in the weight loss group had severe sleep apnea. Half of them had mild sleep apnea. And five of them had no apnea.

It’s never too late to improve your health. In this study, the men with severe sleep apnea benefited the most from weight loss.

The weight loss group used the Cambridge Diet, which involves drinking a low-calorie powder and water mixture instead of eating a meal, for the first seven weeks. This mixture was replaced with food for the last two weeks of the study.

The researchers noted that this weight loss method is unsustainable and that long-term diet and exercise changes help maintain weight loss.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that weight loss be combined with oral appliance therapy or CPAP for sleep apnea treatment.

Learn more about the study here.

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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.