Losing weight could be the most effective way of reducing obstructive sleep apnea or OSA symptoms and associated disorders, says a new study.
Weight loss may not be a new miracle pill or a fancy high-tech treatment, but it is an exciting therapy for sufferers of OSA both because of its short- and long-term effectiveness and for its relatively modest price tag.
The prospective, randomised trial found that, in 81 patients with mild OSA, the 40 patients who were in the intervention arm underwent a diet that strictly limited caloric intake combined with lifestyle counseling lost more than 20 pounds on average in a year - and kept it off, resulting in markedly lower symptoms of OSA.
"Very low calorie diet (VLCD) combined with active lifestyle counselling resulting in marked weight reduction is a feasible and effective treatment for the majority of patients with mild OSA, and the achieved beneficial outcomes are maintained at one-year follow-up," wrote Henri P.I. Tuomilehto, department of otorhinolaryngology at the Kuopio University Hospital in Finland.
The 41 patients in the control arm, who only received lifestyle counseling and lost on average less than 6 pounds, and were much less likely to see improvements in their OSA.
And not only does sustained weight loss improve OSA, it also improves the many other independently linked co-morbidities such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, said a Kupio release.
"The greater the change in body weight or waist circumference, the greater was the improvement in OSA." In fact, mild OSA was objectively cured in 88 percent of the patients who lost more than 33 pounds, a statistic that declined with the amount of weight lost, said Tuomilehto.
These findings were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.