Thursday, May 21, 2009

Losing Weight with CPAP for Sleep Apnea

Excess body weight is a major risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea. Treating sleep apnea with CPAP helps some people bring their weight under control.

In some cases the change is dramatic. NorthWest Cable News in Seattle
reports that CPAP helped one woman lose more than 100 pounds in a little more than a year. She used to weigh more than 300 pounds.

Then she was diagnosed with sleep apnea and started using CPAP. She began to notice that she had more energy. So she started working out regularly and eating better.

CPAP also played a role
behind the scenes of the TV show “The Biggest Loser: Couples.” Each contestant was evaluated during an overnight sleep study.

Sixteen of the 22 contestants were diagnosed with sleep apnea. Sponsor Philips Respironics
provided treatment for each of them.

But a
2008 study shows that there is no guarantee that CPAP will lead to weight loss. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

The study involved 228 adults with sleep apnea. They had an average age of 55 years.

Results show that using CPAP for one year did not produce a significant drop in
body mass index (BMI). Some participants initially lost weight after starting CPAP. But they gained the weight back during the year.

The authors conclude that CPAP alone is unlikely to produce weight loss; CPAP users still need to take an active role in losing weight.

Using CPAP is likely to increase your daytime alertness and energy level. This can help you lose weight if you become more active and get more exercise.

You should talk to your doctor to develop a healthy weight-loss plan that is right for you.

Learn more about the
benefits of CPAP on

Image by Chris


jim said...

Great post! It should be noted that weight loss will also lead to greater compliance with Cpap therapy. Lower weight can lead to decresed pressure requirement. Lower pressures are easier to tolerate.

Anonymous said...

I have been using a CPAP with a pressure of 17psi for years. I have lost 37 lbs (from 250 to 213) and I am having trouble sleeping again. Seems like the air is leaking from my mouth even though I am using a very tight chin strap. I wake with a very dry mouth. Is it possible that I need to get the pressure lowered on my CPAP?

Anonymous said...

I lost about a 105lbs since i started using my cpap... err since i got it... not really using it that much. just eating better and healthier. Went from 400 to bout 295 right now.. It was set at 15psi... would i have to go get checked out again to get it changed or something?

Anonymous said...

I'm a senior resident family physician training in a rural town in Arizona and am conducting a study on the result of significant weight loss with the consistant use of CPAP in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. I'm also interested in seeing if weight loss would be more significant if patients also received healthy diet instruction, physical activity encouragement and were enrolled in a sleep apnea support group.
I am not looking for participants in this study but suggestions and/or stories from any successful experiences.
I commend all of you for your improvements of your sleep apnea symptoms and encourage the use of CPAP every night!

Please contact me at

Thank you!

Dr. T

Juno said...

Altho I have a lot of weight to lose, I eat healthily and was moderately active, and could NOT lose weight. Just by doing the same old thing, I've lost 15 lbs since starting CPAP therapy 10 weeks ago....EFFORTLESSLY. The guys at the place where I got my autopap machine told me it wasn't unusual for patients to drop 10, 20, 30 lbs once they began therapy & got uninterrupted sleep. Yes I eat healthy and walk a mile a day, but I'm giving most of the credit to my CPAP machine!

rkyobo said...

I just slept my first night with my CPAP face mask, and my husband at one point during the night thought I was dead. He said I wasn't moving at all - I guess I usually have flopped around a lot in my sleep - and he shook me to make sure I was okay. I didn't have night sweats as I usually do (I'm post menopausal at 57 yrs old)either - hope CPAP may stop my hot flashes during the day too. Especially, I'm hoping to lose some weight as well.

Unknown said...

I am not overweight, but have found that I have gained weight ob CPAP without changing anything in my healthy diet.

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