You’ve been trying and trying to lose weight, but every time you hop on the scale, you’re disappointed. You’ve cut back on calories, are eating whole foods, and you would like to start exercising, but you’re simply too exhausted. The simple fact is, your perpetual tiredness and your weight could be related — particularly if you snore. How? Snoring is the most frequent symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (or OSA), a potentially dangerous condition that often leads to weight gain, as well.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway is blocked during sleep. During these apneic moments, you stop breathing for several consecutive seconds; this happens multiple times each night, each time depriving your blood of oxygen. It is the oxygen deprivation that makes this disease potentially dangerous, as it can lead to an increased likelihood of:
- Hypertensions and stroke
- Heart disease and heart attack
- Mental disorders such as anxiety and depression
The Skinny on Apnea
The risk factors vary, but the most common are being male and being overweight. While losing weight can help reduce apnea systems, your body often fails to cooperate with your weight loss efforts, as apnea disrupts the flow of hormones that regulate your weight: GHRELIN, the hormone that tells you that you’re hungry and it’s time to eat INCREASES, while LEPTIN, the hormone that tells you you’re full and to stop eating DECREASES. What’s worse is that, when we’re tired, we tend to turn to carbohydrates that may give you a quick energy boost, but will otherwise leave you lethargic.
If you suspect that you have apnea and are struggling to lose weight, you’re trapped in a cycle. Weight loss could help your apnea, but your apnea is preventing you from having the restorative and restful night’s sleep that your body needs to function optimally. So what do you do?
Marcus Dental Practice to the Rescue!
Luckily, we have a few tricks up our sleeves when it comes to sleep apnea. Once you have been diagnosed, we will use specialized equipment to determine the cause of your OSA. You may be familiar with the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which has helped apnea sufferers find relief for years, but there are other ways we can help. Whether you need orthodontics or an occlusal device (mouth guard), we can position your jaw and tongue in such a way that allows you to breathe freely while you sleep. Once you’re getting the sleep your body needs, you can look forward to decreased hunger and increased energy, both of which will put you on the road to health.