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Weight Loss Associated with Decreased Breathing Problems During Sleep
By Donald J. Brown, ND

Healthnotes Newswire —Moderate weight loss may be the best prescription for reducing sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), according to a report published in this week’s Journal of the American Medical Association.1

Nine hundred forty-eight adult men and women were asked to allow an overnight evaluation of their sleep quality as well as their breathing and heart rate during sleep. Body weight was also recorded. Four years later, 640 of these participants agreed to a follow-up evaluation of the same sleep parameters and body weight.

A 10% increase in weight during the four-year period was associated with a six-fold increase in the risk of developing moderate-to-severe SDB. This was true whether a person had no history of SDB or had a mild case at the beginning of the study. On the other hand, weight loss was directly correlated with either decreasing the risk of developing SDB or reducing the severity of the condition in people who had SDB at the beginning of the study.

SDB is characterized by a temporary absence of breathing and abnormally slow or shallow breathing during sleep. SDB, sometimes referred to as “sleep apnea,” is a common condition in American adults and has been associated with high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and even death.

The results of this study suggest that even moderate weight loss may be the most effective means to treat mild-to-moderate SDB—particularly in overweight people. Even among overweight people without SDB, the potential to prevent SDB adds another important health reason to lose weight.

References
1. Peppard PE, Young T, Palta M, et al. Longitudinal study of moderate weight change and sleep-disordered breathing. JAMA 2000;284:3015–21.

Donald J. Brown, ND, is a naturopathic physician and one of the leading authorities in the United States on evidence-based herbal medicine. He is the founder and director of Natural Products Research Consultants, Inc., and serves on the Advisory Board of the American Botanical Council and the President's Advisory Board of Bastyr University.




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