Washington: A new study suggests that even a moderate weight reduction can prevent the progression of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and even cure it.
The study focused on the effects of weight loss on OSA and demonstrated, for the first time, that a sustained weight loss of just 5 percent was enough to prevent the disease from worsening and even cure it in a long-term follow-up.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has become a major burden for our health care systems over the last years.
Although it is one of the most increasingly prevalent non-communicable diseases, the vast majority of people with OSA still remain undiagnosed.
OSA has also been found to be tightly linked with metabolic abnormalities, particularly type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular morbidity.
OSA is a chronic, progressive disease, and it is well-documented that moderate to severe forms of OSA are associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Obesity is the most important risk factor for OSA.
Based on current knowledge about the evolution of OSA, weight gain represents a high risk for the further progression of the disease towards the more severe forms, particularly in patients who already have a partial obstruction of their upper airways associated with mild OSA.
This study provides first time long-term evidence that even a modest weight reduction can result in marked improvements of OSA and metabolism in overweight patients, and these positive changes are sustained even four years after the cessation of the active intervention, and the progression of the disease is thus prevented.
The study is published in the journal Sleep Medicine.