Does Sleep Apnea Make Me Gain Weight?

For a long time, we have known that there was a correlation between sleep apnea and weight gain. Patients with sleep apnea tend to have “centripetal” weight gain meaning weight gain in the face, neck, and belly.It was believed that weight gain caused the sleep apnea and the patients were told to lose weight to make the sleep apnea go away.

The frustrated patient would diet and exercise with minimal to no change in their weight.

We now understand that the reverse is true. Episodes of sleep apnea alter many hormones related to our metabolism. Cortisol, insulin, growth hormone, as well as testosterone, are all altered in a way that creates a slowing of your metabolism and centripetal weight gain.

To have success in losing this weight the sleep apnea needs to be successfully improved or resolved to alter those hormones and create an accelerated metabolism. This allows the patient to be successful in their weight loss effort.

A comprehensive evaluation of the causes of your sleep apnea must be done to get those areas treated. The main causes tend to be a nasal blockage, enlargement of the tongue, soft palate and uvula elongation, large tonsils, and weight gain.

In our office, a comprehensive exam including high definition nasal endoscopy, miniCT scan imaging of the nose and sinus, flexible endoscopic exam of the tongue base, and home sleep testing can get to the root causes and treatment options that suit the patient.

Once we have made improvements in the patient’s sleep apnea they will tend to see a nice weight loss over the next 12 months. Thinner neck and face, shrinking belly, and even improvements in associated diseases like diabetes or hypertension.

If you have sleep apnea and associated weight gain come see us for consultation and a path to successful weight loss.

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Posted in: Sleep Apnea, Snoring

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