Does Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain?

Does Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain?

The importance of getting good sleep cannot be overstated. Several adverse health outcomes, including excess body weight, have been linked to poor sleep quality and short sleep duration. Sleep apnea is one of the sleep disorders that can lead to poor sleep and weight gain. Weight gain can aggravate sleep apnea, resulting in a vicious cycle. Discover how sleep apnea affects weight gain by reading on.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is more than just snoring. It is a potentially serious condition caused by stopping breathing or breathing shallowly (apnea) while you sleep. As a result, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, heart attacks, and stroke can occur. Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea is extremely important for your health, as studies show that it increases the risk of sudden cardiac death.


Sleep apnea can be classified as central, obstructive, or complex. It is called central sleep apnea when your muscles do not receive instructions from your brain to breathe. Sleep apnea affects nearly 30 million Americans and is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Snoring, choking, and gasping for air are symptoms of OSA, which occur when the airway is partially or completely blocked during sleep. It can disrupt sleep (sometimes without anyone realizing it!) and cause headaches, fatigue, memory problems, and weight gain during the day. Obstructive and central sleep apnea are combined in complex sleep apnea. Due to OSA's prevalence, this article will focus primarily on this type of apnea.


Obstructive sleep apnea is associated with masculinity, ageing, obesity, smoking, and alcohol and sedative use. An additional risk factor for sleep apnea appears to be excessive body weight.


What is the Relationship between Sleep Apnea and Weight Gain?

Weight gain and sleep apnea go hand in hand - sleep apnea can cause weight gain, and weight gain can cause sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is estimated to affect 70% of obese individuals, and studies confirm that weight gain increases the risk of developing sleep apnea. Increasing body weight also worsens sleep apnea severity. Sleep apnea is believed to develop due to fat accumulation in the neck, which enlarges the airway and increases the possibility of obstruction during sleep. The cause of this correlation is unknown.


Weight gain can also occur as a result of sleep apnea. There has been some evidence that excessive weight gain occurs just before the diagnosis of sleep apnea. Several factors contribute to this, including sleep apnea's disruption of sleep, which causes fatigue, increased appetite and cravings, and hormonal changes.


How Does Sleep Apnea Cause Weight Gain?

Weight gain is one of the adverse effects of poor sleep on our health. Obesity and weight gain are associated with sleeping less than 7 hours per night. Because sleep apnea reduces sleep duration and quality, it's no surprise that it can also cause weight gain. Several factors may contribute to how sleep apnea causes weight gain


  • Fatigue – An important symptom of sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness. As a result, you may fall asleep during daily life activities and, understandably, have little interest in exercising.
  • Increased Appetite and Cravings – Sleep apnea, as well as poor sleep, leads to increased appetite and cravings for foods high in carbohydrates. As a result, you can gain weight and consume more calories.
  • Hormonal Changes – In addition to insulin and leptin, sleep apnea affects hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism.
  • Insulin – Diabetes and obesity are often associated with sleep apnea, which increases insulin resistance. Because insulin increases appetite and tells our bodies to store fat, insulin resistance can promote weight gain.
  • Leptin –Sleep apnea patients have elevated leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone known to promote weight loss, yet higher levels of leptin have been linked to sleep apnea, a condition in which the body is less responsive to the effects of this hormone.
  • Ghrelin – Those who snore and experience obstructive sleep apnea have higher levels of ghrelin, known as the "hunger hormone." This may be why they develop an increase in appetite, which would lead to greater food consumption and weight gain.


Is Sleep Apnea Treatment Effective for Weight Loss?

Many patients find that treating sleep apnea increases their energy and restfulness. Treatment for sleep apnea often transforms patients' lives, and they can't imagine sleeping without their CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure machine). Treatment for sleep apnea does not necessarily lead to weight loss. However, CPAP therapy has been shown to significantly increase physical activity in people who suffer from sleep apnea.


As part of the treatment for sleep apnea, there is a change in ghrelin and leptin levels immediately after treatment begins. This hormonal change may help people with sleep apnea control their appetite, making it easier for them to follow a healthy, reduced-calorie diet. A combination of this and increased physical activity may help you lose weight.

Does Losing Weight improve your Sleep Apnea Symptoms?

Yes, definitely! In the case of sleep apnea, weight loss is one of the first treatments recommended. Several studies have shown that losing even 10% of your body weight can help reduce sleep apnea severity. Many patients with sleep apnea who undergo bariatric surgery see their condition completely resolved. Nevertheless, You may still require CPAP therapy for treating sleep apnea after weight loss, so you should continue to see your healthcare provider to ensure the condition is adequately treated.


How Can Weight Loss Coach Help With Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss?

At Weight Loss Coach, each patient is assigned a Board Certified Physician who will complete an in-depth initial evaluation, which includes sleep apnea testing. Weight management experts at Weight Loss Coach provide patients with personalized weight loss paths to help them lose weight and improve their sleep apnea, among other health concerns.


Get in touch with us if you're interested in medical weight management and developing a personalized plan to improve your sleep apnea and help you lose weight. As part of a comprehensive weight loss program, our insurance-covered medical weight loss program incorporates nutrition, physical activity, mindset changes, and FDA-approved medications, if necessary.




















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