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Area Doctor Examines Potential Link Between Snoring And Obesity

Shake the walls when you sleep? Obesity and snoring may play a closer role than you think.
Shake the walls when you sleep? Obesity and snoring may play a closer role than you think. Photo Credit: helpguide.org

NEW YORK -- We all know one, and perhaps even are one ourselves. We might claim it's not our fault, it shouldn't bother people that much, or simply "Sorry, I can't do anything about it". According to the American Sleep Apnea Associating, more than 90 million Americans suffer from some sort of snoring activity during sleep.

Snoring can be classified into two categories, according to the Association. The majority of snorers are categorized as 'simple snorers' who produce some sort of noise through relaxed throat tissue. While an annoyance to other sleepers, this type of snoring is usually harmless. However, sleepers who regularly snore loudly and have a shortness of breath may be experiencing a form of sleep apnea, which can be dangerous.

While it can seem like being a sleep apnea snorer is more genetic bad luck than anything, studies have shown a correlation between obesity and the disorder, according to Dr. Anthony Starpoli of the American Obesity Association and Greenwich Village Gastroenterology.

"The excess weight in the central part of the body makes the work of breathing very difficult and increases the risk of lapses in breathing known as apnea. Subsequently, patients feel exhausted from the periodic lack of oxygenation or the delivery of oxygen to vital organs like the brain. These events can cause an extreme case of exhaustion and contribute to this overwhelming fatigue."

A 1999 study by scientists at the University of Chicago found that building up a sleep debt over a matter of days can also impair metabolism and disrupt hormone levels. An additional study examined healthy men and women with an average body mass index; with half the sample size being normal sleepers while other half averaged 6 1/2 hours or less. Glucose tests showed that the short sleepers experienced distinct hormonal changes that could deteriorate their long-term health and change their body weight.

"As the epidemic of obesity rises with recent data showing that 38% of the US population are obese, there is a need for interventions that will result in significant weight loss" says Starpoli. "The recent FDA approval of intragastric balloons for weight loss allow patients to consider incisionless, nonsurgical approaches to weight management. "

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