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Weight-loss proves effective cure for sleep apnea
Date:12/4/2009

For obese men, a dramatic weight loss can be an effective way to improve moderate to severe sleep apnoea, scientists at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet report. Those with severe sleep apnoea when the study began benefited most from weight loss.

"Our findings suggest that weight loss may be an effective treatment strategy for sleep apnoea in obese men," says Kari Johansson, one of the researchers involved in the study.

Sleep apnoea the temporary cessation of breathing during sleep is a relatively common but under-diagnosed disease. Five or more such events per hour is considered a disease. Untreated, sleep apnoea is associated with an increased risk of traffic accidents, as well as stroke and heart disease, for example. Moderate and severe sleep apnoea also increases the risk of premature death. It has long been known that people with overweight or obesity are more likely to develop the disease, and that men are more affected than women.

In a randomised study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers at Karolinska Institutet examined if weight-loss can help to cure moderate and severe sleep apnoea. The study included 63 obese men (BMI between 30 and 40) aged between 30 and 65. The participants had moderate to severe sleep apnoea as measured by the AHI (apnoea-hypopnea) index. All participants had symptom alleviation treatment through CPAP continuous positive airway pressure which produces more normal breathing patterns during sleep. The participants were randomly assigned to two groups, one of which underwent an intense weight-loss programme, the other served as a control group, for a period of nine weeks.

The results of the study show that the weight loss group lost 19 kilos on average after nine weeks and more than halved the number of apnoea events. None of the treated patients had severe sleep apnoea, half had only mild sleep apnoea and one in six could be declared healthy. The
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Contact: Katarina Sternudd
katarina.sternudd@ki.se
46-852-483-895
Karolinska Institutet
Source:Eurekalert

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