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Sleep Apnea Improvement Maintained After Weight Loss

Those with severe apnea or who lost the most weight benefited the most at one year

THURSDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- Obese men with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea who followed a very low energy diet may maintain their initial improvements one year later, according to a study published online June 1 in BMJ.

Kari Johansson, from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues assessed whether early improvements in obstructive sleep apnea after a very low energy diet were maintained one year later in 63 men, aged 30 to 65 years, with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea and body mass index of 30 to 40 kg/m². Participants were treated with continuous positive airway pressure and underwent a one-year weight loss program consisting of nine weeks of a very low energy diet followed by a weight loss maintenance program, which was completed by 44 men. The severity of sleep apnea was measured using the apnea hypopnea index.

The investigators found that, after the very low energy diet phase, there were significant reductions in the baseline mean apnea-hypopnea index and weight (−21 events/hour, −18 kg, respectively). Compared to baseline, a significant reduction was seen in apnea-hypopnea index (−17 events/hour) and weight (−12 kg) after one year. Compared to patients with moderate disease, those with severe obstructive sleep apnea at baseline showed significantly greater improvements in the apnea-hypopnea index. At one year, 10 percent of the participants had total remission, whereas 48 percent no longer needed continuous positive airway pressure. At follow-up, there was a significant dose-response correlation seen between weight loss and the apnea-hypopnea index.

"Those who lost the most weight or have severe sleep apnea at baseline benefit most," the authors write.

The study was partially funded by Novo Nordisk. Several of the authors disclosed financial ties to the weight loss industry.

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