Sleep Apnea May Impair Exercise Efforts

Posted 01/16/2015 | By HealthCorps

Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing starts and stops.  It’s a risk factor associated with obesity, and it’s also found in people with very thick necks.  The sufferer will typically gasp or snort when their breathing is interrupted during sleep.  Individuals who suffer with this condition are often sleepy during the daytime because of poor quality sleep at night.  The condition has been on the rise among obese children and teens, and it’s also a risk factor for high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.

A new study suggests, that compared to people who don’t have sleep apnea, those who suffer with the disorder may not be able to burn sufficiently high levels of oxygen during strenuous exercise.  That means you’re destined to a lower exercise effort and that lower effort will burn fewer calories.  That’s in direct contradiction to your needs, if you are obese.

This study, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, does note that it is the sleep apnea component and not obesity per say that instigates the impaired exercise effort.  The sleep apnea may cause structural changes in muscles, directly contributing to the exercising deficiency. The changes may prevent the person from accessing enough oxygen to support a vigorous effort.  So treatment is needed for the sleep apnea.  Of course, treating the obesity can certainly help to improve the overall health status of the person as well.

-Amy Hendel, PA/HealthCoach

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