Sleep apnoea has long been linked to metabolic retardation and a consequent increase in bodyweight. In fact, in the majority of cases, people who are obese are highly likely to be suffering from some degree of sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea stops the sufferer from breathing normally while asleep, as the soft tissue of the upper airway collapse and block breathing. In severe cases this happens 30 or more times per hour, often for 30 seconds or more each time. The effect on the body's physiology is easy to imagine.
The interesting thing to note is that sleep apnoea and weight issues are a circular relationship. Just as sleep apnoea can cause people to put on weight, it is also true that overweight people are likely to have sleep apnoea. This leads to a downward spiral, as the weight gain leads to worsened apnoea, which leads to increased weight gain, etc.
In this article from ABC7 News in the US, one apnoea sufferer explains the difference treatment has made to her condition and her life. One positive outcome is that her retarded metabolism appears to have been kick started again ... and she has lost 45 pounds since April.
As the report says, "As with most people who lose weight, a healthy diet and a consistent exercise regimen are part of her method. McCormick, though, chalks up her extreme weight loss to one more factor.
Last April, McCormick participated in a sleep study that revealed she had sleep apnea. Sufferers of sleep apnea briefly and repeatedly stop breathing while they sleep due to a blockage of the airway."
Since undergoing treatment for sleep apnoea, Rebecca says her life has "turned around completely. She sleeps eight hours a night, doesn't snore anymore, and has the energy to work out on a daily basis.
"Many times, I don't wake up at all in the night," McCormick said. "(My) emotions stabilized. I'm back to being a positive and energetic person."
Twersky says people who can't lose weight with diet and exercise alone might indeed be one of the millions who have an underlying sleep disorder. He says if you suspect sleep apnea, you should consult with a doctor about getting tested."
Sleep apnoea is a serious condition which should be treated, rather than tolerated. If you have apnoea or know someone who does, arrange a diagnostic sleep study for them as a matter of urgency.