Obesity is riddled with many complications, which span across all your body systems. It also interferes with your daily activities such as getting a proper sleep.
Obesity doesn’t just disturb your sleep but can cause sleep apnea, the complications of which can be fatal. If left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to heart problems, hypertension, diabetes, breathing troubles and other health risks.
Add to these the obesity complications, which can set in if you don’t take remedial measures to control your weight.
The health complications of obesity and sleep apnea can compound and put you at a very high risk of serious health conditions.
Obesity and sleep problems
Obesity has become a permanent epidemic worldwide and it shows no signs of abating.
At the same time, there is a rising trend of reduced sleep duration and quality. Lack of sleep in the obese is a frequent complaint. Almost 80% of the adult obese Americans complain of sleeping problems.
Studies indicate that poor sleep quality and loss of sleep are common in obese people. Insomnia is now an established complication caused by obesity.
However, there are certain studies that establish this fact in a different light. These studies describe increased calorie intake in people who slept for 4 to 4.5 hours at night as compared to people who slept for 8 to 8.5 hours at night.
The corollary you can draw from this is that it is the loss of sleep that makes you eat more and become overweight or obese.
In general, children and adults who suffer from loss of sleep tend to outweigh those that get enough sleep.
According to another study, women who slept for 5 hours or less regularly were at a 15 percent higher risk of gaining weight and becoming obese as compared to those who regularly enjoyed a 7-hour sleep.
All these findings suggest that obesity does, in fact, interfere with your proper sleep and again, insufficient sleep leads to excessive food intake, which causes weight gain.
Obesity and obstructive sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a condition where there is a periodic cessation of airflow for at least 10 seconds during sleep. This can happen 5 to 30 times or even more per hour during the night. In obesity, sleep apnea occurs due to obstruction of the airways.
These breathing interruptions during your sleep mean that your brain and body do not get enough oxygen.
Though you don’t realize it, sleep apnea robs you of your sleep and makes you sleepy during the daytime.
Obese people have four times the risk of developing sleep apnea than people of a healthy weight. Fat deposits around the upper airway obstruct your breathing and this causes the cessation in breathing.
Obesity is one of the major causes of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Among the obese adult population, the prevalence of sleep apnea is high as 45% and about 60% to 70% of people with sleep apnea are obese.
This prevalence is likely to increase in view of the fact that the obesity epidemic is engulfing more and more people throughout the world.
In the United States, the prevalence of OSA in morbid obesity is increased by up to 93.6% among men and 73.5% among women
The increasing prevalence and severity of obesity have resulted in an increased prevalence of OSA cases. However, there is evidence that losing weight improves the sleep apnea and its symptoms.
Recent studies indicate that OSA by itself can cause you to gain weight. You, therefore, have a problem at hand if you are obese and suffering from OSA.
Obesity causes you to lose sleep, which again increases your calorie intake making you gain more weight. Obesity causes you to develop sleep apnea, which makes you gain weight further worsening your OSA.
You, therefore, have a vicious cycle with one causing and aggravating the other. The only way out of this cycle is to reduce your weight and bring your BMI to a healthy number. This will improve your OSA and eating habits.
Extreme sleep apnea can lead to recurrent arousal from sleep, arterial hypoxemia (deficiency of oxygen in the blood), hypertension, and cardiac arrhythmias. These conditions can further cause ischemic heart disease and increased risk of thrombosis.