The burgeoning obesity epidemic in Western nations generally and in the USA, particularly, is accompanied by an increase in people presenting with symptoms of sleep apnea. Obesity is one of the primary indicators of the condition.
That’s why tackling sleep apnea with diet and lifestyle changes is becoming a favored strategy for confronting the problem. In this post, we’re going to talk about how patients can help control sleep apnea and its devastating effect on their health by making changes to the way they eat and live.
Taking the pressure off.
Excess weight is a key indicator of sleep apnea. Weight carried around the neck is especially dangerous, as fatty tissue in this area can contribute to blockage of the airway. Neck circumference of more than 17” for men and 16” for women demands action to reduce weight.
Taking the pressure off your air passage is an important step toward improving or even eliminating sleep apnea. Under the direction of a primary care giver, patients should increase their activity levels to recalibrate their metabolisms. Elevating metabolic levels enhances overall health and helps the body process food more efficiently.
Commensurate changes in diet will also help patients lose excess weight. That means avoiding foods high in salt, sugar, and fat. Fast food and prepared foods are high in these ingredients, known to contribute to obesity.
Increasing the intake of fresh fruit, vegetables and grains and drinking water in the place of sugary soft drinks will assist in the project of losing the weight that’s contributing to sleep apnea.
A healthier lifestyle.
Sleep apnea patients should also consider key lifestyle changes to support the reduction of sleep apnea. One of these is reducing or eliminating alcohol and/or drug consumption. Drugs like sleep aids relax the central nervous system, which causes the throat muscles to relax. Alcohol has a similar effect. Avoiding them (especially in the evening hours) has been seen to positively impact the incidence of breathing cessation caused by sleep apnea.
Smoking cigarettes is another habit which can exacerbate sleep apnea. Those who stop smoking report an immediate reduction in symptoms caused by the condition. Cigarette smoking affects the circulatory and respiratory systems so seriously, that its exacerbating role is clear. There’s no substance more difficult to quit than tobacco, but quitting has benefits which far outweigh that difficulty.
As noted earlier in this post, tackling sleep apnea with diet and lifestyle is a project to be undertaken under the care of a doctor. Rapid shifts in diet and lifestyle are to be taken seriously. By deliberately changing eating habits, increasing activity levels and reducing contributing behaviors, a gradual reduction in severity and eventual elimination of sleep apnea can be achieved.
If you or someone you know suffers from sleep apnea, or you suspect that’s the case, consult your physician. This condition can lead to serious health issues affecting the heart, lungs and general health. We strongly recommend seeking a diagnosis at your earliest opportunity.
In addition to key lifestyle changes, consider investing in a sleep apnea mouthpiece. Good Morning Snore Solution offers a comfortable, affordable therapeutic model to treat sleep apnea.