Weight loss for improving sleep apnea?

by Patricia Parker
(Windsor, Ontario)

I feel more afraid, I had to cancel my appointment to sleep over night at the hospital, sleep clinic.

I have a very bad cold, and am coughing terribly.

This appointment was to set the level and give me a machine. Now I have to re schedule. Now I lost 10 lbs, can my sleep apnea go away from loosing weight?


Weight loss definitely affects sleep apnea. Additional fat around the neck may make the airway narrower, making obstructions more likely to occur.

For some overweight people, especially those with mild cases, losing weight can be an effective treatment. Or weight loss may reduce the severity of the sleep apnea.

The only way to know if you are having fewer apneas is to have another sleep study done. I would think that a weight loss greater than 40 lbs. is significant enough to make a difference in your treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but the only way to know for sure is to have another sleep study done.

However, it may be hard to lose weight when you have untreated sleep apnea: you may be too tired to exercise and you may eat to stay awake. Also, it may take some time before the weight loss is achieved, so in light of the potential consequences of untreated OSA, using another treatment option while working towards the weight loss goal may be an option.

Losing weight may also improve your health in other ways, but it is always advisable to talk to your doctor before beginning a weight-loss program.

You may need a pressure adjustment. Losing that much weight has probably caused changes in your physical throat anatomy that is changing your pressure needs. Contrary to popular opinion, losing weight does not always mean a lower pressure. You may need a higher pressure now.

Remember that sleep apnea occurs in thin people as well; the airway can close during sleep for a number of reasons, not just excess weight.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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