By now, enough studies have proven that being overweight is a cause of sleep apnea.
However, researchers have just published a new study in the Journal Sleep and Breathing that asked two specific questions to test this relationship further:
1. Does the severity of sleep apnea increase with the severity of obesity?
2. Up to which waist-to-height ratio would you be safe in? Or how much weight would you have to lose to reverse your sleep apnea?
Researchers recruited 437 patients from a sleep clinic, all of whom had polysomnography test scores available.
A polysomnography measures the oxygen levels in your blood, along with your brain waves, breathing rhythms, heart rate, and other biological factors while you are asleep.
They also recorded their age, gender, Apnea-Hypopnea Index (the most common measure of sleep apnea severity), waist-to-height ratio, waist circumference, and BMI (body mass index).
For the control group, they used 72 volunteers from the healthy sleeping population whose body composition and demographic information had been obtained.
Unsurprisingly, they found that the waist-to-height ratio, waist circumference, and BMI parameters were higher in those with sleep apnea than in those without the sleeping disorder.
In addition, it was obvious that the severity of sleep apnea increased with the severity of obesity, from those who with least overweight having mild sleep apnea as compared to those being the most obese, who consequently had severe sleep apnea.
When they examined the levels of these parameters to see which ones were still relatively safe before the sleep apnea kicked in, they found that women with a 0.595 waist-to-height ratio, a 95.5 cm (37.6 inches) waist circumference, and a 27.75 BMI score were still OK.
Men, however, should avoid a waist-to-height ratio higher than 0.575, a waist circumference larger than 100.5 cm (39.6 inches), and a BMI that was higher than 27.75.
If you want to calculate your own parameters, a measuring tape is all you need for waist circumference. Next to the next circumference, waist circumference is the largest sleep apnea threat.
To calculate your waist-to-height ratio, take your waist circumference as centimeters, or inches, and divide it by your height in the same measurement.
For example, your waist circumference could be 90.5 cm, and your height could be 160 cm or it if it is in inches, then your waist circumference could be 36″ and your height could be 66.9″. The formula for this would then be:
90.5 / 160 = 0.565625 or
36 / 66.9 = 0.538116592
The easiest way to find your BMI would simply be to do an online search for BMI calculator and fill in the numbers.
Also, it would be good to keep in mind that these measurements that are supposedly safe are, in fact, very high, especially the waist-to-height ratios, so do not aim to reach them.
However, the main method to combat sleep apnea is not to lose weight. The main method would be to strengthen and open up your breathing passages. And you can do that using simple throat exercises that can be found here…