Losing weight makes it possible to do without a treatment

THE ESSENTIAL

  • Sleep apnea syndrome affects 5 to 7% of the adult population and up to 15% of those over 70 years of age.
  • 80% of sleep apnea sufferers go undiagnosed.

To reduce or eliminate sleep apnea symptoms, there is nothing like losing weight and improving your lifestyle. That’s according to a new study published in JAMA.

89 men tested

“Is an interdisciplinary intervention focused on weight loss and lifestyle combined with usual care (continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP treatment) effective in the management of moderate-to-severe sleep apnea syndrome in people who are overweight or obese?” the researchers wondered before beginning their tests.

In their randomized clinical study, they included 89 Spanish men. All suffered from moderate to severe sleep apnea and were overweight or obese. Some followed classic treatment for eight weeks, while others made multiple lifestyle changes in addition to traditional care. Some of the things they checked were getting enough sleep, engaging in aerobic exercise, following a weight-loss diet, and quitting tobacco and alcohol use.

Spectacular wins

The benefits of these changes were quite dramatic, with 45% of participants in the test group no longer requiring treatment after two months. After 6 months, that number had risen to 62%. “This study achieved clinically significant and sustained improvements in the severity and comorbidities of sleep apnea and in patients’ quality of life. Our approach can therefore be seen as a key strategy to address the far-reaching impact of this increasingly common respiratory disease,” conclude the scientists.

Sleep apnea syndrome (also known as SAHOS) is characterized by repeated and uncontrolled pauses in breathing throughout the night, leading to incessant micro-awakenings of which the patient is unaware. This leads to daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating or memory, and cardiovascular complications, causes of excess mortality.

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