Obesity and Sleep Apnea

Obesity is a common risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Losing weight can help you improve your condition. However, losing weight is not a cure for OSA, and you may have to make other lifestyle changes as well. Moderate body weight and avoiding certain foods are good first steps to reducing the severity of the disorder.

Obesity is a Risk Factor

While the causes of obstructive sleep apnea remain unclear, excess weight is associated with abnormalities in the upper airway and soft tissues of the mouth and throat. These abnormalities may interfere with normal airway function, blocking breathing and resulting in sleep apnea. Approximately half of all individuals with OSA are overweight or obese. Obesity increases the risk of sleep apnea by six times, but the effects diminish after age 60.

Losing Weight Reduces the Severity

Obesity can increase the severity of sleep apneic episodes. Obesity can also deplete the energy needed for a healthy weight. Overweight people often suffer from daytime sleepiness as a result of interrupted sleep. This lack of energy may contribute to a decreased physical activity during the day. People with this condition are also at greater risk of developing chest pain and shortness of breath when they exercise, which may contribute to additional weight gain.

Maintaining a Moderate Weight


Obesity is one of the main causes of obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when you stop breathing several times during the night. Research has shown that losing even just a few pounds can improve the symptoms of sleep apnea. A study conducted by the Karolinska Institute in 2009 showed that people who were obese and overweight experienced a significant reduction in the number of times they stopped breathing. Of course, some patients regain their weight after losing weight, but the results were significant.

Treatment Options


Obesity and sleep apnea often go hand in hand. While people who are overweight are at a higher risk of developing the disorder, not everyone with obesity will be diagnosed with the condition. A physical exam can determine if weight loss will help. In addition, the circumference of the neck may be a good indication that you have sleep apnea.  

Tests to Diagnose Sleep Apnea

Various tests are available to diagnose sleep apnea. Polysomnography, which is usually done in a sleep clinic, records vital signs such as your heart rate and oxygen levels. A sleep study also analyzes your movements while you sleep. Home tests are also available to diagnose sleep apnea. For more information, contact your doctor for recommended treatment based on your condition. 

Contact The Air Station about CPAP technology, CPAP machines, CPAP trial, CPAP trade-in, sleep apnea diagnosis and treatments:


The Air Station


Address: 11 Lorong 3 Toa Payoh Block B #01-13, Jackson Square, 319579 Singapore.

Phone: (+65) 6265 5608

Email: customer@theairstation.com