The Link Between Obesity & Snoring

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Snoring and Obesity

Many people who are obese often find they snore loudly, disturbing loved ones as they sleep and causing embarrassment. Snoring is more than just a nuisance and can indicate a serious medical condition called sleep apnea If you are obese and concerned about this, losing weight can stop this affliction and improve your health.

About Snoring

Snoring is common with as many as 45% of people, and 25% snore almost all the time. People of any age can snore, even children, but it becomes more common as you get older. Men snore more than women and it occurs more when you sleep on your back. Factors that contribute to an increased risk of snoring include:

  • Obesity
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Use of sedatives
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Large tonsils, tongue or soft palate
  • Deviated septum or nasal polyps
  • Jaw that is small or set back

Snoring is the sound created by air turbulence vibrating the tissues at the back of the throat. More specifically, these tissues will vibrate when they obstruct the airways. A loss of muscle tone around the throat and soft palate, obstructions within the nasal passages, including congestion from allergies or body fat around the throat and neck can obstruct the airways and cause this annoying noise. When the airways are obstructed, a person may have difficulty breathing. This followed by a short period of not breathing at all is indicative of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a serious sleep disorder that can further affect your health.

How Does Obesity Cause Snoring?

Obesity can contribute to this problem in several ways. First, carrying excess weight can affect breathing during the day, not just at night while sleeping. Obesity also leads to pharyngeal fat, which blocks an obese patient's upper airway during sleep when the airway is already relaxed. Fat also causes muscles to lose tone and become displaced. This displacement and loss of tone can cause the muscle tissues within the throat to become loose and obstruct the airways, further contributing to this problem. It a reason why snoring is one of the most common sleep apnea symptoms. Air is literally squeezed through a restricted airway, causing a loud noise.

Obesity Increases the Risk of Sleep Apnea

In some cases, snoring can be an indication of sleep apnea and is more likely to occur in those who are overweight. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition in which breathing stops while sleeping. Breathing may stop many times during the night and for as long as 10 seconds at a time. Patients often start breathing again with a loud snort. When breathing stops, the brain signals the body to wake up, often causing those who suffer from sleep apnea to be exhausted when it's time to get up and suffer from daytime sleepiness.

Additionally, increased abdominal girth from excess fat can compress the chest wall and decrease lung volume, making the upper airway more likely to collapse during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) risk rises as body mass index (BMI) rises. Even a 10% gain in weight is associated with a six-fold increase in OSA risk. About 60% to 90% of adults with OSA are overweight.

Treating Obesity Can Help with Snoring

Those who are obese and snore may use CPAP treatment at night, losing weight can help reduce snoring and improve their health as shedding pounds can help rid the body of excessive fat from the neck and throat along with improving the tone of muscles displaced by fat.

Unfortunately, losing weight is often easier said than done. For many who struggle with obesity, diet and exercise may not be enough to achieve a healthy weight. In such cases, bariatric surgery may be able to help. By reducing the size of the stomach, bariatric surgery physically restricts the amount of food a person can comfortably eat and/or interfere with the nutrient absorption process, helping those with obesity feel full with less food for successful weight loss.

Schedule a Virtual Consultation

If you’re tired of snoring, waking up, being tired during the day and suffering poor health because of excess weight that you can’t shed, it’s time to schedule a virtual consultation at Tijuana Bariatric Center. Our caring staff will help you determine if bariatric surgery can meet your health needs, weight loss goals and improve your quality of life. Call us today at 800-970-0577 to schedule your appointment.

Tagged In: ObesitySnoring

Author: Dr. Fernando Garcia Govea

Bariatric Surgeon

Dr. Garcia is a highly qualified surgeon, and has more than eight years of bariatric treatment experience and two decades in the medical field. His experience (10,000+ procedures) helps him work with all patients including those with a BMI of 80 or higher to improve their quality of life.

Read more here: Fernando Garcia Govea

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