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How Weight Loss Surgery Improves Sleep Apnea

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Living with obesity can include managing several different illnesses, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea.

However, did you know that weight loss surgery can cure some of these diseases, specifically sleep apnea?


What is Sleep Apnea?

The Mayo Clinic defines sleep apnea as, “a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.”[1] If you have a tendency to snore loudly when you’re sleeping and are tired despite having a full night’s sleep, you may be experiencing sleep apnea.

The type of sleep apnea that people living with obesity tend to contract is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is the most common form of the disorder and occurs when the muscles in the throat relax while you are asleep, making it hard to breathe.


Obesity and Sleep Apnea

So how does obesity cause obstructive sleep apnea?

According to Bariatric Surgery for Treating Sleep Apnea, a brochure written by the Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, people living with obesity tend to have thicker tissues around the throat. This makes them more likely to develop sleep apnea.[2]

The Cleveland Clinic states in their brochure that around 85 per cent of people who have sleep apnea are obese. This disorder can affect people of any age, but is most common in people over the age of 40 and in those who are overweight.


How does Weight Loss Surgery Solve Sleep Apnea?

In 2013, 69 studies including 13,900 patients were outlined in the Obesity Surgery Journal, and this research found that all bariatric surgeries can improve sleep apnea.

According to Weight loss surgery for obstructive sleep apnoea with obesity in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol, an article published in the BMJ Open, “Weight loss may relieve the symptoms of OSA by changing fat distribution, reducing neck circumference and widening the narrow airway formed by the soft tissue of the tongue and throat.”[3]

The Cleveland Clinic’s article about weight loss surgery and obesity confirms the theory that Zhiyong Dong, Brian Hong, Ashley Yu, John Cathey, Sheikh Mohammed Shariful Islam and Cunchuan Wang were making in their research above.

“Bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, causing remission in 80 to 85 per cent of cases,” states the Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric and Metabolic Institute. “Surgically induced weight loss can be a lasting resolution for sleep apnea.”[4]


To learn more about how SmartShape can cure your sleep apnea (and other weight-related illnesses), contact us at 1-888-278-7952 or visit our website.






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