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NewsBites February 2017 Issue

Sleep Apnea Could Stall Weight Loss

In a one-year weight loss trial based on dietary counseling, 175 obese adults with metabolic syndrome and at high risk for obstructive sleep apnea lost less weight and were 70% less likely to lose at least 5% of their weight, compared to those at low sleep apnea risk (assessed by a standard screening survey). Sleep apnea causes shallow breathing or breathing pauses during sleep.

"If you have metabolic syndrome [a cluster of high blood sugar, unhealthy blood lipid levels, excess abdominal fat and high blood pressure] and you're trying to lose weight, it seems to be quite important to get an evaluation for sleep apnea," says Matthew Whited, PhD, an assistant professor at East Carolina University in Greenville and lead author of the study, published in Health Psychology. "We're not exactly sure why yet, but the presence of sleep apnea makes it more difficult for folks to lose weight." He says that if you have two or more of the following symptoms, or you feel you may be at risk for sleep apnea, it may be wise to undergo a sleep study:

Snoring loudly

Feeling tired during the day

Stopping breathing during sleep

High blood pressure

To Learn More: Health Psychology, December 2016 -

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