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Problems Tied to Obesity Also Seem to Affect Sleep
Date:1/23/2009

other, he said, meaning that each condition must be dealt with separately to also address the complications of both.

"Our data suggest that patients with OSA and severe nocturnal hypoxemia should be screened for liver disease, and, conversely, patients with liver disease should be screened for OSA," Polotsky said.

The third study found that excessive sitting or standing during the day causes a fluid shift in the legs during sleep that may have a role in the development of sleep apnea.

When people lie down to sleep, fluid that has been retained in the legs during the day gets redistributed to the upper body, Dr. T. Douglas Bradley, professor of medicine and director of the Centre for Sleep Medicine and Circadian Biology at the University of Toronto, explained in the news release. "It is, therefore, plausible that some of the displaced fluid might reach the neck and predispose one to upper airway constriction," he said.

The researchers found these changes in people who were sedentary but not obese and who they suspected had obstructive sleep apnea -- a discovery that might help explain why 40 percent of people with the breathing disorder are not obese and why exercise without weight loss appears to reduce sleep apnea issues in some people.

"An important implication of our observations is that sedentary living may predispose to OSA, not only by promoting obesity but also by causing dependent fluid accumulation in the legs, which can shift rostrally to the neck overnight," Bradley said.

More information

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has more about sleep apnea.



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: American Thoracic Society, news release, Jan. 23, 2009


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