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The Correlation Between Lung Health, Weight & Sleep: Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The Correlation Between Lung HealthBeing overweight can cause serious long-term health issues, and the statistics of obesity in the US are staggering.

More than 160 million Americans are considered obese in the United States. According to the CDC, obesity is more prevalent in the United States than merely being overweight. Two significant obesity contributors are not being active enough and eating an unhealthy diet.

Being overweight significantly increases the likelihood of developing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea affects more than 25 million people in the United States. It is a progressive condition that interrupts breathing patterns throughout a person’s sleep. People that suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) may have episodes of stopping breathing up to hundreds of times per night for 10 seconds or longer, and along with this disruption comes many adverse side effects and morbidities.

What Causes Sleep Apnea?
The short answer is that the airway collapses during sleep due to one or more of the following conditions: obesity, drinking alcohol, smoking, stress, lung diseases, drugs such as sleeping aids. Once the sleep pattern is disrupted, the lack of oxygen to the brain and heart can cause serious health concerns and implications.

What are the Side Effects and Complications Associated with Sleep Apnea?
• High blood pressure
• Cardiovascular disorders (Abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation)
• Chronic disease
• Diabetes
• Depression
• Behavioral issues
• Stroke
• Brain health impairment

If not treated, over time, OSA can lead to heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, and other serious complications.

What are the symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
• Snoring
• Gasping
• Dry mouth
• Choking
• Cognitive decline or brain fog
• Restless sleeping
• Depression and irritability

Getting Treatment Makes A Difference in your Lung Health!
A CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is a therapy that has proven to be efficacious in helping patients sleep more soundly and with better airflow by blowing a steady stream of air into the nose. The flow of air helps to keep the airway open during sleep. On neuroimaging, CPAP treatment has shown a significant reversal of brain and cognitive disorders caused by the lack of oxygen to the brain. Getting CPAP treatment and incorporating it into your nightly routine will help to improve your vascular health, lung function, cognitive functioning and other sleep disturbance related health conditions. CPAP therapy can also alleviate pulmonary hypertension.

In addition to the CPAP therapy, losing weight, stopping excessive alcohol ingestion, sleeping on your side as opposed to your back, meditative relaxation breathing, quitting smoking and eliminating sleep medications or narcotics may help to improve your breathing rhythm during the night.

To schedule an appointment with a pulmonary specialist, please call Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Specialists of SWFL today at (239) 985-1925, or ask your primary care physician refer you to their office.

Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep
Medicine Specialists of SWFL
7335 Gladiolus Drive
Fort Myers, FL 33908
(239) 985-1925

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