Sleep Disorders

What is Sleep Apnea?

Many obese and overweight individuals suffer from sleep disorders as a result of their excess weight. One of the most common types of sleep disorders experienced by obese patients is Sleep Apnea. Sleep Apnea is characterized by the blockage of breathing ability while you are asleep. The severity of this condition varies largely. Sufferers of sleep apnea experience the brief inability to breath from five to 50 times every hour during the night. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is directly caused by a narrowing or blockage in the airways of the throat, mouth or nose. This blockage generally occurs when the muscles of the throat and tongue relax while you sleep. Enlarged tonsils are a leading cause of this obstruction, but other lifestyle factors including alcohol consumption and obesity strongly increase your risk as well. In fact, about 70% of patients diagnosed with sleep apnea are obese.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Being overly tired or extremely sleepy during the daytime, even after a presumed full night of sleep
  • Not feeling refreshed after sleeping
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Frequent Headaches in the morning and night
  • Heartburn
  • Sour taste present in your mouth during the night
  • Swelling in your legs
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Chest pain during the night
  • Sweating at night

In addition to these symptoms, a spouse or close family member may notice other signs for concern that develop while you are asleep, such as:

  • Your breathing stops for brief periods throughout the night
  • Spells of gasping or choking
  • Excessive snoring
  • Tossing, turning and overall restless sleep

Treatment of Sleep Apnea

If you are experiencing these symptoms, then it is very important that you consult your physician. Sleep apnea can increase your risk of serious health conditions, like heart attack and stroke. In addition, increased tiredness inhibits your ability to function properly; making daily activities more difficult and even increases your risk for sleep apnea.

For many patients, the first step in the treatment of sleep apnea is often the implementation of simple lifestyle changes. Becoming healthier by limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and losing weight are all recommended courses of action. If you suffer from sleep apnea and would like help losing weight to improve your quality of sleep, then bariatric surgery may be a beneficial option for you.