While weight loss may not “cure” other health conditions like sleep apnea, healthy weight loss and management can lead to better sleep, ease of mobility, higher energy levels, a more positive mood, and less pain and discomfort.
This entry in our “What about…?” comorbid conditions series discusses how sleep health has a defining influence on the development and progression of pulmonary hypertension (PH). In order to understand how sleep health influences PH, first you need to understand just what PH is.
Those with COPD struggle to maintain a healthy balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in their bloodstream during the day. If they also have OSA, this sleep breathing disorder kicks in as soon as they fall asleep, leading to further stresses to their blood chemistry. While the rest of us rely on that nighttime period of consolidated sleep to maintain health and well being, and to recover from the stresses placed on our
systems by chronic illness, those with Overlap Syndrome never catch a break. This explains the term “overlap syndrome.” It’s a way to reference the never-ending challenges of breathing for those suffering from both COPD and OSA.
Sleep eating disorders are not the result of “poor willpower” or some other judgmental explanation. While they’re uncommon, they do exist and are considered part of the Rare Disease category. Make no mistake: Sleep eating disorders can definitely make life hard for those suffering.
A dentist is equipped to identify two problems that present as risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea: sleep bruxism (a night time grinding of the teeth of clenching of the jaws) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also known as acid reflux or heartburn. Fortunately, treating undiagnosed sleep apnea can provide relief for these other sleep-related problems.