As more of our population become obese and overweight, obesity diseases become much more prevalent. Diabetes is one such disease, and here I explain what it is, why it affects the overweight, symptoms and prevention.
What is it?
Sleep apnea is a sleeping and breathing disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, which has the potential to be fatal. There are two main types of sleep apnea: 1) obstructive and 2) central (or you could have a combo of the two, which is known as complex sleep apnea). Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax, whereas central sleep apnea occurs when your brain does not send the proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
Why is it affected by obesity/overweight?
Excessive weight and fat deposits around your upper airway seen with obesity may obstruct your breathing and lead to sleep apnea. It is important to keep in mind that not everyone who has sleep apnea is overweight.
What are the symptoms?
The list below, provided on the Mayo Clinic website, displays the most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apnea:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Loud snoring, which is usually more prominent in obstructive sleep apnea
- Observed episodes of breathing cessation during sleep
- Abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath, which more likely indicates central sleep apnea
- Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
What can you do to prevent it?
Treatment is necessary to avoid heart problems and other complications. For more mild cases, simple lifestyle changes are recommended. These changes would include improvements on weight (i.e. losing weight) or quitting smoking. However, for more serious conditions, medical attention is needing to determine which therapy would be appropriate.