18th March 2016
Obesity is the major cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), a common disorder which takes its name from the Greek word apnea, meaning "without breath".
People with sleep apnoea syndrome literally stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, often for a minute or longer and as many as hundreds of times during a single night. It is usually associated with loud snoring and daytime sleepiness.
A study* of 313 severely obese patients showed a high prevalence of significantly disturbed sleep in obese men (59%) and women (45%) and observed apnoea was found to be more common in men.
The aim of the study was to assess the impact of weight loss following gastric banding on sleeping patterns and the characteristics of sleep disturbance. The group lost an average of 48% of excess weight in the first 12 months and this was accompanied by a significant improvement in responses to all symptoms at follow-up:
- Habitual snoring reduced to 14% from a pre-operative value of 82%
- Observed sleep apnoea reduced to 2% from a pre-operative value of 33%
- Abnormal daytime sleepiness reduced to 4% from a pre-operative value of 39%
- Poor sleep quality reduced to 2% from a pre-operative value of 39%
The authors conclude that obesity-related sleep disorders such as sleep apnoea improve markedly with weight loss following gastric banding.
*Published study in Arch Inter Med 2001:161:102-106
Dixon JB, Schachter LM, O'Brien PE. Sleep disturbance and Obesity - Changes Following Surgically Induced Weight Loss - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11146705