It is known that obesity plays an important role in causing a lot of health problems, from type 2 diabetes to various types of cancer. However, a condition that may be easily overlooked, while being caused by obesity, and being a gateway for other, more severe conditions, is sleep apnea.
Obesity linked with sleep apnea
The connection between obesity and sleep apnea has started to become more apparent as studies showed an important spike in the reported sleep apnea cases, as more and more people have become obese. Studies have been carried on small groups of people and the findings showed the same thing: people that are obese are more likely to suffer from a bad sleep at night, because of sleep apnea.
What exactly is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea describes a condition that consists of the closing of their airways while they sleep. As they feel they cannot breathe, people suffering from sleep apnea cannot remain for a long time in deep sleep, and they wake up, up to several times a night, in order only to breathe properly.
Risks associated with sleep apnea
People that suffer from sleep apnea episodes on a constant basis are prone to experience sleepiness throughout the day because they do not get enough sleep. This is not, however, the only problem caused by sleep apnea. Heart conditions seem to be linked with sleep apnea as well.
Other studies show that part of work or driving accidents are related to lack of deep sleep, a consequence of sleep apnea.
Men more affected than women
Although men and women are affected by obesity equally, it seems that men are more likely to be exposed to sleep apnea and its consequences than women. Older studies showed that around 10% of men between 30-49 years of age were affected by sleep apnea, while only 3% of women in the same age category were affected. For another category of age, between 50 to 70 years of age, 17% of men suffered from sleep apnea, while only 9% of women were affected by the same condition.
Also, the studies showed that people that weigh more than normal weight were more affected.