We recently reached out to the Prince George Sleep Apnea clinics to offer our services to their clients who may be struggling with losing weight, and then we realized that this information could be useful for a larger audience.
First of all, what is it? Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which your breathing is interrupted briefly during sleep. It can happen repeatedly over the course of your sleep and the “apnea” is the breathing pause that lasts at least 10 seconds. Despite efforts to breathe, the muscles in the back of the throat do not keep the airway open. This results in fragmented sleep and low blood oxygen levels, and often can lead to more serious issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, and chronic sleep problems. Sleep apnea affects approximately 4-8% of the population in their middle age (and approximately 10% of people over the age of 65), but the proportion increases in overweight people. More than half of the people dealing with sleep apnea have a Body Mass Index (BMI – a calculation based on your height and weight) of 25-30 or above. Compared to those within a normal BMI range, people who are obese (with a BMI of above 30) increase their risk of developing sleep apnea by 7 times.
So, how can you treat sleep apnea? First of all, if you suspect you may have sleep apnea you should see your doctor. Track your sleep patterns for a few weeks and include information like alcohol consumption, medications (both prescribed and over the counter), and other symptoms you might have – things like snoring, gasping, or other episodes in the middle of the night. Sleep apnea can also affect your waking hours, possibly resulting in headaches, difficulty concentrating, and excessive tiredness or irritability throughout your day. After you see your doctor, you may be referred to a sleep clinic for a diagnosis and possibly a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP). This is a mask that you wear during sleep that gently blows air into your airway to help keep it open during your sleep. This may treat your sleep apnea but you should consider changing some of your lifestyle aspects to support a long-term plan:
· If you are overweight, losing weight through physical activity and changing your nutrition will be encouraged (and that is where AHS can help!!).
· Avoiding alcohol and giving up smoking.
· Changing your sleeping position to sleeping on your side.
Sufficient sleep is a crucial aspect of leading a happy, healthy, and active life. If you are suffering from sleep apnea and want a more permanent solution for getting you sleep back on track, Active Health Solutions can help (especially if you have some weight to lose). Losing weight will not only help ease your sleep apnea, but will also help give you the energy and ability to live the life you want, and to do it with a more positive outlook!