One of the most common questions I get asked is, “can sleep apnea be cured if I lose weight?” My usual response is, sometimes, but not too often. The more severe your sleep apnea, the less likely you’ll reach normal levels if you lose significant weight. If you start with mild sleep apnea, then there’s more of a chance that you may be “cured” of sleep apnea. A recent study published recently in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine echoed my thinking. Researchers followed 44 obese people with obstructive sleep apnea who were enrolled in a 2 year weight loss program. The overall success rate (AHI < 20 and greater than 50% drop) was 15%. However, overall, the BMI, arousal index, and subjective scores all improved. They recommended weight loss programs as an adjunctive treatment in motivated obstructive sleep apnea patients.
What’s your experience with weight loss? Did your sleep apnea improve?