Dr. Oz recently gave advice for obstructive sleep apnea in a segment called “1 Minute to Better Health.”
First he outlined some of the ways that OSA can have a negative effect on your health and performance. It can cause daytime fatigue, poor mood, memory loss, heart disease, stroke and even death.
Then he described who is most likely to have sleep apnea. It often occurs when extra fatty tissue in the throat keeps air from flowing freely as you sleep.
“People with sleep apnea are usually overweight,” he said.
What can be done about sleep apnea?
He said that becoming a side sleeper may help. But he recommended weight loss as a better option.
According to Dr. Oz, most people tend to lose weight in their face and neck first. This means that dropping some extra weight could possibly cure sleep apnea.
“So remember, if you want to get rid of that extra sleep apnea problem you’ve got, just lose a little bit of weight,” he said.
If only it were that easy. Studies show that weight loss often reduces the severity of sleep apnea. But it rarely solves the problem.
One recent study found that a very low-energy, liquid diet cured sleep apnea in 17 percent of participants. Another study found that participants still had moderate OSA after a 16-week diet and exercise program.
The AASM recommends dietary weight loss as one treatment strategy for people who are obese and have sleep apnea. But weight loss should be combined with another treatment such as CPAP or an oral appliance.
Why? As Dr. Oz pointed out, sleep apnea can have a severe effect on your health. It requires immediate and effective treatment.
But weight loss takes a long time, and it may not be enough to cure the problem. Weight loss also is difficult to maintain. Excess weight often returns over time.
And it is important to point out that OSA also occurs in people who maintain a healthy weight. A study presented at SLEEP 2009 found a high rate of sleep apnea in non-obese adults.
You should talk to your doctor to develop a healthy weight-loss plan that is right for you. For help with sleep apnea you should contact an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center in your area.
Read more about obstructive sleep apnea and weight loss and OSA.