Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two New Studies Incentivize Weight Loss in 2011

United Press International (UPI) reports that researchers are studying a potentially life-threatening correlation among obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and obesity.

Scientists at the Lynn Health Science Research Institute in Oklahoma City are recruiting volunteers for the study of obesity and OSA, a disorder that causes pauses in breathing during sleep.

Obesity has been found to be the main cause of OSA, mostly because obese people have larger tonsils and tongues, which interfere with air flow during sleep.

Seventy percent of sleep apnea patients are obese, researchers say.

According to Kelly Shepherd, a research fellow from Australia, and one of the researchers working at the Lynn Health Science Research Institute, those who suffer from OSA can stop breathing from five to 130 times per hour. They are at risk for heart attacks, car wrecks, depression and lost work productivity caused by daytime sleepiness, she said.

Drowsy driving has become a major public health concern as obesity rates rise.

The LA Times reported last week that a new study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that obese drivers are more likely to die in a serious car wreck than drivers of normal weight.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo in New York examined drivers' body sizes and the number of car crash deaths between 2000 and 2005 from data in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The study calculated an increased risk factor of dying at 21 percent for moderately obese drivers and 56 percent for morbidly obese drivers.

"Many people think they just sleep badly and wake up feeling terrible the next day," said Shepherd. "Many don't know why."

Experts estimate that 80 to 90 percent of people with OSA are undiagnosed and untreated.

Learn more about OSA here. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed at an AASM-accredited sleep center.

Image by John K.

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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.