Everywhere you look, there are more and more stories about the risks to the health of overweight people. It has not yet begun to match the continuous assaults by the Surgeon General on smoking (have you seen some of those pictures of people with cancer? – gross). But you know that the more weight you carry the greater the risks of diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. Unfortunately, these drum beats have lost their power to drive us to fight in the war against those pounds. We have all heard it before, tried the “I’m dieting” T-shirt on for size, and yo-yoed up and down a few pounds just to join the “I’m proud” movement to make the best of a bad job. If it was easy to lose weight, everyone would be thin. Anyway, it turns out there’s yet another set of disorders threatening the overweight. It’s called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It’s been around for as long as people have been sleeping, but it’s only surfaced as a serious health problem during the last few decades. The first signs are unmistakable. It’s that really loud snore. The one you can hear as you walk down the street. The snores go like a buzz saw for a time, then there’s a period of absolute silence. If you were observing the sleeper, you would notice that he or she has actually stopped breathing. This can go on for as long as a minute. Then, with an effort, the chest heaves and breathing begins again.
When it first starts, it simply disturbs the sleep. People wake and still feel tired. But, if it becomes a more regular nightly occurrence, it leads to serious problems. The oxygen content in the blood drops, blood pressure can rise, the heart’s rhythm can be disturbed, and so on. OSA is directly connected with strokes and heart attacks. It is moderately common for people to die of a heart attack during their sleep or around 2 a.m. when woken from sleep. Once diagnosed, there are some expensive options to strap people into a harness with oxygen bottles attached. This maintains a constant pressure of oxygen and keeps the airways open. Surgery is also offered to remove obstructions in the throat and so keep the airways open. But it is most commonly fatal when people are overweight. The additional weight on the chest makes continued breathing more of an effort. Build-ups of tissue in and around the face and throat can also obstruct the airways when the muscles relax during sleep.
New Swedish research confirms weight loss can reduce or even cure OSA. So, as well as reducing the risks of heart disease by carrying less weight, you also reduce the risk of a heart attack through OSA. Two birds with one stone. Why have we told you this? Because the latest estimates are that 20 million adults in North America have some degree of OSA. As the number of overweight people grows, OSA becomes more common. It’s reaching the same numbers as suffer asthma. So this is one more reason to lose weight. That means dieting and beginning exercise programs. If your motivation is weak, meridia will control the hunger signals and tell your brain your stomach is full. It’s a good trick but meridia makes it look easy.