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The Impact of Bariatric Surgery On Sleep Apnea

When you worry about your weight, you probably think about things like your clothing size, fitness level or general health. But did you know that obesity can also affect your sleep? And that poor sleep can affect your heart?

We’re talking about a condition called obstructive sleep apnea.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep disorder (OSA) is a condition that makes your breathing stop and start again during sleep.

Your throat muscles are meant to keep your airway open. But with OSA, they periodically relax and block your airway when you’re sleeping, meaning that for 10 seconds or more you’re not getting enough oxygen.

Your brain senses this danger and briefly awakens you so you take a few deep choking, gasping breaths, though you probably won’t remember this in the morning. This might happen 30 times an hour throughout the night.

That means your body is not getting the healing, restorative benefits of sleep.

What Are The Symptoms of OSA?

OSA causes a variety of different signs and symptoms including:

  • Loud snoring
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Stopping breathing when you sleep (ask your partner if they’ve noticed that)
  • Waking up gasping for air or feeling like you’re choking
  • Reduced focus and concentration
  • Moodiness
  • High blood pressure.

Is OSA Serious?

Yes. Persistently poor sleep and insufficient oxygen increases the risk of:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Accidents
  • Employment difficulties.

How Does Obesity Influence Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

While you can inherit naturally narrow airways or struggle with enlarged tonsils or adenoids, it’s an undeniable fact that most people with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight or obese.

Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing. Obesity-related conditions like hypothyroidism and polycystic ovary syndrome can also lead to obstructive sleep apnea.

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Sleep apnea is usually treated through continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a device that pushes a steady flow of air through your nose and mouth as you sleep to keep your airways open.

Of course, the other way to treat it (in most cases) is to lose weight.

How Does Bariatric Surgery Help Relieve Sleep Apnea?

Bariatric surgery helps you lose a significant amount of weight by restricting the amount of food you can eat and/or changing how your body absorbs calories.

Losing that weight helps to improve your quality of life and eases many chronic medical conditions, including sleep apnea.

One survey found that, after bariatric surgery, the majority of patients no longer needed to use CPAP. Those who did needed far less oxygen to get them through the night.

How Can We Help?

If you’ve made the link between your weight and your obstructive sleep apnea, you’ve got some very good reasons to shift the kilos.But getting rid of them is often not as easy as you hope. You may have tried repeatedly to lose weight and not yet succeeded.

Bariatric surgery can help you to lose weight for the last time and finally get a good night’s sleep. If you’d like to learn more, please call us on 3355 2011 to book your free consultation.


All information is general in nature. Patients should consider their own personal circumstances and seek a second opinion. Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks.


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