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How can losing weight help my obstructive sleep apnea symptoms?

Craig B. Primack, MD
General Practice

Sleep apnea usually occurs during stages of sleep where the tongue and throat muscle relax. During that time the tongue and throat structures collapse and cut off breathing. 

Studies have shown that weight loss of about 10% of your current weight will significantly decrease symptoms of apnea. With even more weight loss, it is possible to reverse sleep apnea. 

A major cause of obstructive sleep apnea is obesity. When you are obese, extra fat can narrow your airway and block normal breathing. When morbidly obese people lose significant amounts of weight through bariatric surgery or other means, their obstructive sleep apnea symptoms often go away.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.