You might be wondering what this article is all about and reread the title once more just to be sure you got it right the first time. After all, the CPAP machine is a device primarily designed for treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). So how can the device help those who are trying to lose weight?
Yet surprisingly, new studies now seem to suggest that the CPAP might just boost your chances of slimming down.
Why Weight Gain Can Lead To Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where a person stops breathing for 10 seconds or more multiple times during sleep at night. As a result, the person briefly awakens many times during the night as well though he may not remember doing so. Due to these interruptions, he will never get the full night’s restful sleep that his body needs.
Apparently, one of the most common causes of OSA in adults is being overweight. When one is overweight, the extra weight, coupled with the increased volume of the fat tissues, tend to exert more pressure on the internal organs which may even squeeze the airways. With a narrower airway, obstruction is likely to happen especially during sleep when muscles are relaxed. This explains why overweight people are prone to snoring which is also a symptom of OSA.
If excess weight can increase the risk of developing sleep apnea then reversing the risk factor should cure the condition, right? That is exactly what researchers found out. A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine concluded that for overweight patients, losing weight can cure their OSA.
Curing Sleep Apnea Can Also Help You Lose Weight
But the link between sleep apnea and weight does not just stop there. In fact, new studies have shown that curing your OSA might give you the boost you need in your weight reduction goals.
It has something to do with an appetite triggering hormone called ghrelin and the appetite-suppressing hormone called leptin. Ghrelin signals your brain that you are hungry and must eat while leptin sends the signal that you don’t need to eat.
Unfortunately for OSA sufferers, the proportion of these two hormones is out of whack. These patients have below-normal levels leptin while the ghrelin level is above. And the result is clear – sufferers tend to be hungrier more often which cause them to overeat and gain weight.
But the good news is, the situation can also be reversed. By treating OSA and getting more sleep, the levels of these two hormones can be normalized. As a result, your appetite will return to normal and you won’t be as ravenous as before.
It must be noted that managing your sleep apnea by using a CPAP machine
does not guarantee that you will actually lose weight. It will still take commitment on your part by watching your daily calorie intake and getting as active as you can. Staying healthy is vital and one thing we should keep in mind is that there are no shortcuts to doing this.
Thomas Oldham (BSc, MSc, CEng.) is not only an expert in design, development and testing of medical plastic devices, qualified as a Profesional Engineer in 2016, and additionally has also suffered from sleep apnea for several years - making him an expert on both obstructive sleep apnea and assessing medical devices designed to tackle this condition.