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Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss Surgery

According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 25 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. And many people are unaware that they have this illness. Sleep apnea can cause several detrimental health effects and may even be life-threatening. The diagnosis and treatment are critical, as this illness can have serious health repercussions. One of the best ways to treat sleep apnea and improve your quality of life is weight loss surgery. Learn more about this effective treatment option and how it can lead to long-term relief from this disorder.

What is Sleep Apnea?


Sleep apnea is a condition that causes periodic pauses in breathing while sleeping. Fatigue, low energy, confused thinking, and memory impairment are all apparent sleep apnea side effects. In addition, sleep apnea has far more dangerous long-term risks like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy, and congestive heart failure. Its treatment may aid in the improvement of the quality of life by increasing concentration and energy levels. Moreover, curing sleep apnea could help you decrease job impairment, workplace accidents, and motor vehicle accidents. 

In the absence of treatment, this condition can lower your life expectancy. The most frequent treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. And in severe cases of sleep apnea, bariatric surgery is the ultimate solution to your condition.

Causes of Sleep Apnea


Those who are overweight are more likely to develop sleep apnea because the excess weight may be pressing down on the chest and lungs. It’s also common for those who have heart failure and those who have heart, kidney, or lung diseases. Sleep apnea can also be caused by acid reflux or GERD when stomach acid enters the esophagus, which in turn can cause spasms in the vocal cords.

Sleep Apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax. The muscles in the back of the throat support the soft palate, the uvula, the tonsils, the sidewalls of the throat, and even the tongue. When these muscles relax, the airway narrows or even closes as you breathe. When this happens, you can not get enough air, and the oxygen levels in your blood may lower. 

Also, when you stop breathing, your heart rate tends to drop as your body is deprived of oxygen for a prolonged period. Your involuntary reflexes then shock you awake at the end of that period of not breathing. When this happens, your heart rate tends to quicken, and your blood pressure rises.

Your brain then senses your inability to breathe and wakes you just enough so that you can reopen your airway. This pattern may happen over and over again, at least five to 30 times or more each hour, causing impairment of your ability to sleep a proper deep sleep.

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Signs & Symptoms and Complications of Sleep Apnea


If you find yourself feeling constantly fatigued, unable to sleep at night, waking up in a daze in mid-afternoon, or even falling asleep while driving, these may be signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes you not to get enough oxygen while sleeping, preventing your body from resting properly. You may even snort, choke or gasp, which increases your chance of developing life-threatening conditions like heart disease and stroke. The most common signs and symptoms of Sleep Apnea include: 

  • You stop breathing during sleep
  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability

Sleep apnea is a huge health problem, and complications can include the following:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure or heart problems
  • Daytime fatigue 
  • Complications with medications and surgery
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Liver problems 
  • Sleep-deprived partners

Sleep Apnea must be addressed to avoid serious complications. 

How Weight Loss Surgery Helps Sleep Apnea


Overweight people are more likely to develop sleep apnea, and losing weight can help minimize or eliminate sleep apnea. Bariatric operations such as the well-known Gastric sleeve and gastric bypass, the gold standard in weight loss surgery, can help people shed up to 80% of their excess weight and aid in long-term complications. According to studies, approximately 78 percent of people considering bariatric surgery have obstructive sleep apnea and may be unaware of it. Other comorbidities, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, are more common in these patients.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, it’s essential to see your doctor, and your doctor can set you up with an overnight sleep study. Once diagnosed, inform your Be Slim Bariatrics patient coordinator, who will then notify your surgeon. You will be required to bring your CPAP machine with you. However, rentals are available should you not want to travel with yours. 

After the bariatric surgery, you may be saying good riddance to your CPAP machine and reduce the long-term complications that may occur with patients who have disrupted sleep just by having treatment for obesity and sleep apnea.

By having weight loss surgery and losing the weight needed to treat sleep apnea, you may feel less tired each day, and that enables you to lead a more active and healthier lifestyle. Be Slim Bariatrics has heard testimony after testimony – the relief of patients no longer needing a CPAP machine and feeling well-rested after a good night’s sleep. Let Be Slim Bariatrics top board-certified surgeons help. Fill out a health form here, now.

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