BEHAVIORAL MODIFICATIONS TO TREAT OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA
Obesity is the most important risk factor for developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Obesity is an increasing problem, with studies showing increasing incidences of obesity across the USA and Europe. The latest estimates indicate nearly one in three of adults in the USA are obese. With the strong association between OSA and obesity, the treatment of obesity is essential in the treatment of OSA. A recent study (1) found that diet and counseling alone cured 88% of patients with mild OSA. This study, among others, showed the significance of weight loss as a component of any OSA treatment plan.
A weight loss program consists of exercise, diet, and eating behavior modifications. Nutritionists at Hardin Memorial Hospital are available and can be quite helpful in discussing diet and eating changes.
Daily exercise is instrumental in improving any person’s overall general physical health, as well as mental health, and quality of life. It is also very important for the OSA patient; a study from 2009 (2), demonstrated this fact. This study showed that an exercise program (3 days per week of 1.5 hours of aerobic exercise) can reduce the severity of OSA while improving the quality of sleep in these patients. It is believed that aerobic exercise works by not only helping with weight reduction, but by improving overall muscle tone and the efficiency of the respiratory muscles.
An exercise program, consisting of aerobic exercise such as walking or bike-riding, should be incorporated in any treatment plan for OSA patients. As little as one hour and three days per week can be instrumental in improving your sleep, and ultimately, your quality of life.
Dr. Robert Wilson, ENT
Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Phone Number: (270) 769-5551
1. Henri PI et al. “Lifestyle Intervention with Weight Reduction.” Am J Resp Crit Care Med. 2009 (179): 320-327.
2. Sengul YS et al. “The effect of exercise on OSA: a randomized and controlled trial.” Sleep Breath Nov 2009 (online publication).