What is the relationship between sleep apnea and weight?

Weight gain can increase your risk for obstructive sleep apnea. The additional fat tissue that develops around your throat as you gain weight can affect breathing by blocking the movement of air through your throat. About half the people who have obstructive sleep apnea are overweight or obese.
If you are overweight or obese, weight loss might help improve or eliminate your sleep apnea symptoms. Overweight people often have thick necks with extra tissue in the throat that may block the airway. There is no guarantee that losing weight will eliminate your sleep apnea, but it may help. This approach is unlikely to make a difference if you have a narrow nasal passage or airway.

This content originally appeared on the American Academy of Sleep Medicine website.
Steven C. Smart, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There is a significant relationship between snoring, obstructive sleep apnea and weight. Men with neck size above 18 inches and women with neck size above 16 inches are significantly higher risk for severe snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. It causes narrowing of the airway and enlargement of the base of the tongue. Weight loss can reverse the disease process, correct the obstructive process and treat the dangerous effects on heart disease.

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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.