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Does sleep apnea go away with weight loss for some?

This area is for Sleep Apnea questions and general Sleep Apnea Discussions.

Does sleep apnea go away with weight loss for some?

Postby Erin » Mon Jun 25, 2007 1:24 am


I've just been diagnosed with sleep apnea following a sleep study in May. My doctor said that in the 2.8hours that I was asleep, I stopped breathing 22 times. I stopped breathing from 10 - 24 seconds each time and my oxygen saturation dropped as low as 70. She didn't say if that was mild, moderate, or severe apnea. She is my primary care physician, and I have not actually seen a sleep specialist, although one reviewed the results to my sleep study and sent a report to her. Do you think a sleep specialist should actually talk to me and look in my nose and throat, just in case there is an issue there? I'm actually rather surprised that I haven't been referred to a sleep doctor as I have fairly good insurance.

For me, my sleep apnea reared it's head a few years ago when I was pregnant, and has not gone away. I gained weight with two pregnancies and am wondering if just losing weight will help alleviate the problem, since I did not have issues with apnea prior to being pregnant and gaining weight. Has anyone out there had success with just losing weight?

To be honest, the CPAP thing makes me feel very unsettled. During my sleep study, they had me try CPAP for the rest of the night following the first three hours of study. At first, I felt very panicked with the mask on and called the technician in to adjust it. She did, and then I was able to fall asleep and had no more instances of apnea. Even still, just thinking about the mask makes me feel panicky. Also I wonder how much dependency you build with the CPAP. Will your throat muscles become weak by using the CPAP such that you are totally dependant on the machine? I guess the idea of being dependant on a machine to breath at night just really has me all freaked out. Sigh...

Postby pseudonym » Mon Jun 25, 2007 12:07 pm

Hi Erin,

Welcome! This is a great forum for finding excellent information, and getting answers to any questions you may have. Don't be afraid to come back here often, the people here are very nice and very helpful.

Regarding your question. I work with a gentleman that used a CPAP for 15+ years. I don't know how severe his OSA was, but after he had gastric bypass surgery and lost over 150 pounds, he no longer needed the CPAP (yes he did have a another sleep study done to be certain of this). He has no more high blood pressure, no more backaches, no more headaches, and no more heart arrythmias.

Each person is different, but yes it can happen for some.

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Postby DarthLucy » Mon Jun 25, 2007 8:24 pm

A coworker of mine had the same experience as what pseudonym described. She had used a CPAP for many years, had gastric bypass, lost over 100 lbs., and now no longer needs the CPAP. She also got rid of diabetes, hypertension, and normalized her thyroid. Truly a wonder cure for this lady. That said, it doesn't work that way for everyone. It entirely depends on the cause of one's OSA. If it's weight related, it may go away. If there is some structural abnormality involved, weight may not play a role at all.
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Postby claire » Mon Jun 25, 2007 10:25 pm

Erin, it's been many many years since I 've been pregnant, so I know I'm a lot older than you and I too have just been diagnosed and got machine and mask last Friday. Not a regular user yet. Have heard of weight loss for some changing the condition. Ofc course you don't like the idea of this mask..ugh! I do hope thought, that if I feel a lot better than it will seem worth it. For some things there are no cures, so at least we have that hope. And you can decide how often you use it. I wish you well, good sleep, and maybe even a few lost pounds! Claire
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Postby Frances » Mon Jun 25, 2007 11:19 pm

Erin, the machine doesn't breathe for you, you breathe for yourself. All the machine does is to keep your airway open so you can breathe for yourself.

My husband had been using a CPAP machine for more than a year until he ended up in hospital for almost 9 weeks. For various reasons, he couldn't use the machine in the hospital but he managed to breathe without it just fine.

Now that he's been home for a while, he is using the machine again and also breathing just fine. And, although it goes against received wisdom, I think he snores less and breathes better than he did before he got sick. Maybe the machine strengthened the airway muscles!
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