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How Obesity Can Harm Your Heart While You Sleep

Obesity and heart health

You know being obese increases your risk of clogged arteries, which can lead to heart problems. But, even if your blood vessels aren't clogged, did you know being obese can damage your heart while you're sleeping?


Researchers found that being obese increases your risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. A startling 45 percent of obese people have it. Why? When you have more fat around your throat, it can place pressure on your airways while you're sleeping. This increased pressure can cause temporary semi or full collapses of your airways, which essentially suffocates you while you're sleeping.

If you're intermittently not breathing for several seconds or minutes throughout your sleep, you significantly cut your oxygen intake. If left untreated, over time this oxygen deprivation damages your organ systems, including your heart and brain. Researchers found that long-term obstructive sleep apnea increases your risk for stroke by 60 percent and heart failure by 140 percent!

How do you know if you have obstructive sleep apnea? Get tested if you have the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue or difficulty concentrating
  • Chronic snoring
  • Waking up choking or gasping
  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • High blood pressure
  • Brain fog

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatments

The most effective and popular obstructive sleep apnea treatment is sleeping with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask. The mask keeps your airways open while you're sleeping, preventing you from suffocating.

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But recent news reveals that using a CPAP mask doesn't lower the increased risk of cardiovascular disease caused by obstructive sleep apnea. Researchers followed two groups of patients: CPAP users and non-users. They found that both groups experienced the same increased risk of heart failure.

Which treatment cures obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, and helps reverse the increased risk of cardiovascular problems? Weight loss! Researchers found that if your obstructive sleep apnea is caused by obesity, losing weight greatly alleviates the apnea and boosts your cardiovascular health. Plus, if you lose enough weight, you'll no longer be obese.

Losing weight requires a healthier diet and regular exercise. It can be hard for obese people to move around, so working out can be more challenging. If you find yourself facing this problem, try hydrotherapy. Here, you're basically jogging and doing aerobic exercises in a shallow swimming pool. The water makes it easier for you to move and boosts your joints' flexibility, which allows you to work out for longer.

Some local gyms, like Arizona's Phoenix Gym, offers a comprehensive range of fitness services, including hydrotherapy. Before choosing a gym, read their blog and see if they're knowledgeable in helping you truly lose weight. If they routinely provide valuable advice about losing weight, and you feel they're on an expert level, then your chances of losing weight and lowering your risk for heart problems is greater.

If you're suffering from obesity-caused obstructive sleep apnea, start losing weight today! You won't have to wear that annoying CPAP mask, and you'll have a healthier heart.