18 million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea, according to an article posted by Dr. Saul Modlin, an ENT in New York. At your pulmonology clearance appointment for weight loss surgery, your doctor may have referred you for a sleep study. If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, it is vital you use your CPAP machine to manage it. CPAP can save your life. Sleep plays a huge part in weight loss, so we need to get as much restful sleep as we can. It can help you avoid dangerous health consequences. Using your CPAP regularly to treat your obstructive sleep apnea will aid in weight loss and help you get the sleep you need.
CPAP & Sleep Apnea Basics
According to Dr. Modlin, obstructive sleep apnea is when the soft tissue of the palate and throat relax enough as you sleep that it interferes with breathing. The brain then sends a signal to slightly wake you up so you’ll breathe. It’s enough of a disturbance to disrupt your restful sleep patterns, although you may not notice it. Diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea is usually done by a sleep study, where they hook you up to electrodes, and you wear a mask. You’ll sleep overnight in a hospital setting, but they try to make it as comfortable as possible.
A common way to treat obstructive sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic, a CPAP machine delivers constant air pressure that is somewhat greater than the surrounding air. It is just enough pressure to keep your airways open during sleep. Thus, you will sleep more soundly because your brain won’t have to disrupt your sleep to get you to breathe. CPAP can save your life by helping you breathe during your sleep.
The Time I Fought With My CPAP
I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea when I was going through my pre-op weight loss surgery clearances. I had an at-home sleep study and one performed in the hospital setting. The at-home sleep study was pretty easy. I wore an oxygen sensor on my finger and a microphone to pick up snoring was placed on my chest. I wore the actual machine on my wrist at night.
Because of the results of that test, the doctor recommended me for a sleep study at the hospital. It was a strange experience, being hooked up to wires and told to sleep. They did their best to make it as much like a hotel room as possible, but it’s hard to ignore all the wires. They did wake me up in the middle of the night and fit a CPAP mask on me to see how I did. The technician told me I slept better with it on, but honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference.
Eventually, I was given my CPAP machine and used it. It definitely took some time to get used to it. I did find I slept more soundly and had less daytime sleepiness when I used it. As I lost weight though, the machine became cumbersome. I started having poor quality sleep and even fought with my machine one night. Except, I didn’t know it! I woke up and the machine, my mask and tubing were all on the floor. I had no idea how it got there, but I apparently won the fight.
I called my surgeon and explained the situation and what happened. He recommended I take a few nights without using the machine to see how I feel. I felt better than I had in a long time. When I told him that I slept better without the machine, he told me to stop using it and see the pulmonologist again. The pulmonologist gave me another home sleep study test, and it showed I no longer have sleep apnea.
The Relationship Between Sleep and Weight Loss
Harvard Med published an article called, “Lose Weight and Keep it Off.” I received a copy of it from my insurance company when I started going through the weight loss surgery process. In it, they discussed the connection between sleep and weight loss. They found in studies that the less you sleep, the more likely you are to overeat. One of the reasons is because a lack of sufficient sleep slows metabolism. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you will lack sufficient sleep because your brain keeps waking you up. You’re never able to get to the restorative sleep your body needs to repair and recover from a day’s work. Thus, your metabolism will slow down.
They also indicated that a lack of sleep means you’re going to be more tired during the day, which will make you less motivated to be active. We all know how important activity and exercise is to our weight loss, so lacking the motivation to be active can slow your weight loss. The Harvard article also stated that sleep deprivation disrupts the hormones that control hunger and appetite, and you are likely to eat an additional 300 to 500 calories a day to try to get the energy you need to make it through the day.
The bottom line is you need high-quality sleep in order to lose weight. Not only will it keep your metabolism in line, but you’ll be more motivated to exercise and be active. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you are not getting high-quality sleep unless you’re using your CPAP machine. Your CPAP can save your life by helping your weight loss. Remember that surgery and losing weight takes a lot from your body. Especially after surgery, you’re not getting the same amount of energy from food that you used to get. It’s so vital that bariatric patients get high-quality sleep.
Dangerous Health Consequences
Not treating your obstructive sleep apnea can have some unpleasant and even deadly consequences. According to Dr. Modlin, besides hindering your weight loss, you are putting yourself at risk of serious health conditions like depression, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Let’s explore why a little deeper. CPAP can save your life by decreasing your likelihood of developing these diseases.
Dr. Modlin indicates when you aren’t getting the restful sleep you need, your brain can’t rest and reset from the day. After all, a third of our day is supposed to be dedicated to sleep. Sleep is that important to our mental and physical health. When your brain doesn’t get the chance to rest, depression increases, especially if you are prone to it. However, if you use your CPAP machine regularly, you’ll ensure you are getting the adequate sleep you need for your brain to rest and fight away depression.
According to Dr. Modlin, 80 percent of type two diabetics have sleep apnea. Sleep disorders like sleep apnea affect the way your body uses insulin. Since obesity is a leading cause of both sleep apnea and type two diabetes, it makes sense that the three of them are connected. Therefore, using your CPAP machine can help your body using insulin more effectively, reducing your chance of diabetes.
When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your breathing gets disrupted. Dr. Modlin states that the lack of oxygen puts stress on your heart because it’s not getting the consistent oxygen it needs to pump effectively. So without treating your sleep apnea, you are putting your heart at risk for serious health problems.
High Blood Pressure
The lack of oxygen can also increase your blood pressure. Dr. Moldin states the heart has to pump harder because it’s not getting sufficient oxygen. Therefore, your blood pressure increases. Obesity can also cause high blood pressure, so treating your sleep apnea is especially important if you have both.
Your chance of stroke also increases from untreated sleep apnea. The lack of oxygen received by the brain raises your risk of stroke, according to Dr. Modlin. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity are also risk factors for stroke, so it’s especially important if you have any of those conditions to treat your sleep apnea. Using your CPAP regularly can help minimize your risk of these serious diseases.
Using CPAP for Your Health
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you need to use your CPAP to save your life. The lack of oxygen can send serious health consequences your way. As you lose weight, you may be to get off of your CPAP, however, don’t stop it without consulting with your doctor first. You need to continue to use it until a doctor tells you otherwise. Using your CPAP regularly to treat your obstructive sleep apnea will aid in weight loss and help you get the sleep you need. You’ll feel better and be more well-rested. You’ll have more motivation to be active and will consume fewer calories since you don’t need sugary caffeinated drinks or simple carbohydrates for the energy boost you crave.
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free weight loss coloring chart, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
Not only will your metabolism slow down, hindering your weight loss, you also put yourself at a higher risk for deadly consequences, such as depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.