Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) May 03, 2013
Sleep apnea may seem rather a mild side effect of obesity, especially when compared to type 2 diabetes or coronary heart disease, but it can have long-term effects. In fact, according to a study recently presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine(April 15th, 2013), sleep apnea may be highly related to heart issues. A February 15, 2013 article by the Huffington Post linked the two health issues (“Sleep Apnea Heart Risks: Sleep Condition Linked With Abnormal Echocardiogram”). Bariatric surgeon Dr. Naim reviews two studies on sleep apnea, and suggests that LAP-BAND® surgery as a valid option for reducing weight that can lead to sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is the term for pauses in breathing while people sleep. The study mentioned in the Huffington Post was focused on women who suffer from “obstructive sleep apnea”(OSA). This study of over 1,260 women employed echocardiograms to see if the pauses in breathing affected the heart. The ages ranged from 15 to 25, and over half of the women experienced a mild OSA case. However, over 30% of the women showed abnormalities in their echocardiograms, “as well as some kind of heart symptoms”. This is consistent with a 2007 study quoted in the same article, which showed 30% of those who suffered from sleep apnea experiencing a heart attack.
A very small study, of less than 60 people, was mentioned in the Huffington Post that linked sleep apnea with stroke. However, Dr. Naim says that it pays to be cautious about small studies showing over 90% rates for nearly anything, since this may just indicate that the researchers didn't weed out participants for other life factors – such as smoking or drinking.
In order to get a balanced view of sleep apnea on both genders, a second study focused on a comparison of men and women experiencing OSA. The Framingham Heart Study website posted a press release on March 25, 2010 (“Sleep Apnea Tied To Increased Risk For Stroke”), which showed an increased risk for stroke in men rather than women. Percentages were not mentioned, but out of the over 5,400 participants in a Sleep Heart Health study, only 193 experienced a stroke over a nine-year period. The men seemed to have a graduated risk of stroke at each level of sleep apnea (mild, moderate, and severe), whereas the women tended to only have a stroke if they qualified at the 'severe' OSA level.
According to the Sleep Heart Health study, nearly 12 million Americans are currently experiencing the effects of OSA, including increased risks for high blood pressure, uneven heartbeats, and actual heart failure. Sleep apnea has also been linked with obesity and diabetes, which can increase the risk of heart failure even more. Weight loss surgeries such as gastric bypass and lap band seem to help in reducing sleep apnea, although studies so far have not shown the possibilities of removing it altogether – unlike with type 2 diabetes.
According to the Arizona Daily Sun on February 4, 2013 (“Mountain Medicine: Sleep apnea, obesity linked”), OSA can contribute to a reduction in oxygen and a backlog of toxic gases “such as carbon dioxide” that can eventually affect the brain as well as the heart. Alarmingly, it was mentioned that “95 percent of obese Americans are diagnosed with sleep apnea”, although a specific study or studies were not mentioned in relation to that number. However, Dr. Naim says that even if the number is high by 25%, it would still be alarming. Many studies show that reducing weight also dramatically reduces OSA and other forms of sleep apnea. Dr. Naim continues to encourage patients to consider lap band surgery, for its related health benefits that correspond with losing weight.
Dr. Naim graduated from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1996, completed a residency at Tulane University in 2001, and went on to become the first in Memphis to conduct a laparoscopic gastric bypass. He was also first in line to offer a treatment for post-operative weight gain that did not require incisions. One of the latest awards, besides the 2011 and 2012 Patients' Choice Award due to Dr. Naim's positive patient reviews, was the 2009 “Gold Medal Forum Paper” presented at the Southeastern Surgical Congress.