Losing Weight with Sleep Apnea

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Hopefully you will be more mentally and physically prepared to undergo the weight loss and that in itself will lead to more health benefits.

When do you recommend obesity surgery?

Most obesity surgery programs have a protocol where their patients have to see a psychiatrist, cardiologist and a sleep specialist. These programs are very strict on this, there is no bypassing any of the work up. If patients have sleep apnea that is another motive or indication to receive bypass surgery, and more importantly, they have to be treated and monitored after the surgery. We follow them before, during and after surgery. Patients have to be very disciplined and be followed under close medical supervision. It's usually not just one surgery. More than likely there will be subsequent surgeries to remove excessive tissue, it is a very dramatic, and intense period.

After you lose weight, will sleep apnea go away?

Weight is an important factor in obstructive sleep apnea; however, there are other important factors to apnea including some of which are purely anatomical. Someone might have a severe receded chin, prominent tonsils or a deviated nasal septum. That being said if you're only going to do one good thing in life, lose weight. It's going to help your blood pressure, your joints, and increase your vitality. There's no guarantee weight loss, in itself, is going to clear up sleep apnea, but it won't hinder it, and it has many other benefits.

Frankie Roman, MD, JD Doctors Hospital, Center for Sleep Disorders, Masillon, Ohio. Board Member, National Sleep Foundation