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How is sleep apnea linked to obesity?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

When you are overweight, extra tissue thickens your windpipe wall, narrowing your airway. Consequently, the size of your tongue and tonsils become a threat to the narrowed airway—especially when you are sleeping, and can cause a life-threatening condition known as sleep apnea. In this illness, an unsuccessful effort to take in air results in a dangerously low oxygen level while you're sleeping. Your brain shocks your body awake to keep you alive. If you have severe sleep apnea, you can be woken up hundreds of times a night.

Losing just 10 pounds can widen your windpipe, helping you sleep through the night and reduce your risk for developing sleep apnea. And when you sleep well, your levels of leptin (the hormone that signals when you’ve had enough to eat) rise. So, a good night’s sleep will help you lose even more weight.
 

Continue Learning about Sleep Apnea Causes

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.