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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
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ANIMAL CARE
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Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
'Snowbirds' Beware the Climate Changes
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
CANCER
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Breast Self-Exam Rates Go Up With Counseling
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Soluble Fiber, But Not Bran, Soothes Irritable Bowel
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
Climate Change Linked to Longer Pollen Seasons
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Glaucoma Treatment Can Prevent Blindness
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
FITNESS
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Run for Your Life
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Biomarkers May Help Measure Rate of Decline in Dementia
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HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
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HEARING
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HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
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Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
B-Vitamins Help Protect Against Stroke, Heart Disease
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
Too Many Infants Short on Vitamin D
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Countdown to Hair Loss
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
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The Unmedicated Mind
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
PAIN
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Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
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Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Add your Article

Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve

(HealthDay News) -- People with sleep apnea who are also obese may triple the chances of eliminating their sleep problems by losing weight, a new study suggests.

Losing about 10 percent of their body weight was enough to bring on total or near-total remission, said Gary Foster, head of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia, and lead author of the study.

"It's been clear that obesity increases the risk of sleep apnea but less clear that if obese people or people with type 2 diabetes lost weight, it would result in significant improvements in their sleep apnea -- and it did," said Foster.

People who are overweight or obese are much more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which a person's breathing stops or becomes very shallow, sometimes several hundred times a night and sometimes for as long as a minute, according to the American Sleep Apnea Association.

"The soft palate in the back of mouth falls down and blocks the airway," said Dr. Mitchell Roslin, chief of bariatric surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "When you get to people with serious levels of obesity, it's virtually impossible to find those without [this type of] sleep apnea."

The condition can lead to cardiovascular problems, including stroke, and can raise the risk for dying prematurely.

"It really has tremendous detrimental effects on the cardiovascular system," Roslin said.

The study involved 264 obese men and women who also had type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. They were randomly assigned to an intensive behavioral program intended to encourage weight loss or to a less intensive set of group sessions that mainly addressed the issue of diabetes management.

After a year, those in the intensive program had lost an average of about 24 pounds, compared with slightly more than a one-pound average weight loss for the others.

Those who lost the weight also saw a substantial reduction in the number of sleep apnea episodes they experienced, with more than three times as many people in the intensive group experiencing complete remission (13.6 percent versus 3.5 percent).

"The greatest benefit was seen in men and those with severe apnea," Foster said.

Any amount of weight loss brought on an improvement, but those who lost about 10 percent of their original body weight saw the greatest effect. "Any weight loss is good," Foster said.

Most experts recommend 10 percent as the weight loss needed to improve sleep apnea.

However, the study also found that people whose weight remained stable experienced a worsening in their sleep apnea. Just why that occurred remains unclear.

"This is one of the first and certainly the largest study ever conducted so we're at the point in the field, unfortunately, where we're just describing the effect," Foster said.

The study, published Sept. 28 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, does seem to confirm what common sense and experience have shown.

"We've seen that when patients gain five to 10 pounds, their sleep apnea is much worse. If they lose five to 10 pounds, the sleep apnea is much better," said Dr. Hormoz Ashtyani, director of pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. "It's usually not a resolution, but it's a significant improvement."

SOURCES: Gary Foster, Ph.D., director, Center for Obesity Research and Education, and professor, medicine and public health, Temple University, Philadelphia; Hormoz Ashtyani, M.D., director, pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, N.J.; Mitchell Roslin, M.D., chief, bariatric surgery, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Sept. 28, 2009, Archives of Internal Medicine