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Weight Loss Tied to Improved Sleep Apnea in Diabetics

Apnea remission three times as common at one year in subjects in group that lost more weight

FRIDAY, Oct. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A decrease in apnea and hypopnea events in obese diabetic adults assigned to an intensive weight loss intervention provides further evidence that weight loss leads to significant improvements in obstructive sleep apnea, according to research published in the Sept. 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Gary D. Foster, Ph.D., of Temple University in Philadelphia, and colleagues analyzed data from 264 adults with a mean body mass index of 36.7, type 2 diabetes, and a mean apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 23.2 events per hour. Subjects were randomly assigned to an intensive lifestyle intervention for weight loss or three group sessions on diabetes management.

The researchers found that those in the intensive group lost more weight after a year (10.8 versus 0.6 kilograms), and had a decrease in AHI of 9.7 events per hour compared to the other group. After a year, more than three times as many subjects in the intensive group had complete remission of obstructive sleep apnea, with subjects who lost 10 kilograms or more having the largest reductions in AHI.

"The observed reduction in AHI associated with weight loss was less than the results of uncontrolled studies of AHI after weight loss but similar to those of a recent controlled trial of mild apnea," the authors write. "The significant increase in AHI over one year in participants who were weight stable suggests that obstructive sleep apnea is a rapidly progressing syndrome that will worsen without treatment in middle-aged obese adults with type 2 diabetes."

A co-author reported financial relationships with several companies, including Philips-Respironics, which makes and distributes devices that monitor sleep and diagnose and treat sleep-disordered breathing.

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