NYU Sleep Apnea

January 01, 2012

Sleep apnea is a condition that results in one or more pauses in breathing during sleep and is closely associated with obesity. In an overweight person, the condition is caused by fat constricting the neck and blocking the windpipe, causing loud snoring with periods of "not breathing". Poor sleep quality and restless sleep are a result, which leads to drowsiness during the day. Many people are not aware that they suffer from sleep apnea, but the consequences can be devastating, including heart rhythm disturbances and even sudden death.

Recently, encouraging findings about sleep apnea were presented at the Obesity Society’s 2011 national meeting. The study was made up of people suffering from both obesity and type 2 Diabetes. The participants dropped significantly more pounds when they participated in an intensive lifestyle intervention program compared to those in the control group. The control group lost on average 24 pounds, while those in the control group had no weight loss. In addition, for the intervention group, the apnea-hypopnea index (which is used to gauge the severity of sleep apnea), was also significantly reduced. The intervention group - which had weight loss - maintained a four point reduction in apnea-hypopnea index, while the control group - which had no weight loss - experienced a four point increase. The change in apnea-hypopnea index was associated with the weight change; however, there was still a considerable reduction in sleep apnea symptoms, even after taking into account the weight loss.

Studies such as this one are encouraging for people who suffer from sleep apnea, who are often required to wear special masks while sleeping and regularly experience daytime drowsiness because of the syndrome. Sleep Apnea usually resolves following weight loss surgery, and generally all bariatric surgery patients see an improvement in symptoms. The Surgical Team of Langone Weight Management Program offer several weight loss procedures, tailored to the needs of our patients. You can learn more about our program here.