Overweight people (body mass index of 25 to 29.9) and obese people (body mass index of 30 and above) have an increased risk of OSA. The relationship between those who are overweight and sleep apnea is well known. Overweight people have extra tissue in the back of the throat, which can fall on the airways and block the flow of air to the lungs during sleep. Even a small loss of body mass can ease the narrowing of the throat. Losing only 10% of body weight can have a huge impact on the symptoms of sleep apnea. In some cases, losing a significant amount of weight (for good) can even cure this condition.


More than half of people with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight or obese, which is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 25-29.9 or 30.0 or more, respectively. When it comes to adults, one being overweight is the strongest risk factor associated with obstructive sleep apnea.


Any increase in BMI in the unit is associated with a 14-percent increase in the risk of developing sleep apnea, and a 10-percent increase in body weight increases the likelihood of moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea by six times. Compared to adults with a normal body weight, obese people have a seven-fold greater risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. However, the effect of BMI on obstructive sleep apnea becomes less important after 60 years.


This condition, which affects up to 25% of extremely obese people, excess fat not only interferes with the movement of the chest, but also squeezes the lungs, causing shallow and ineffective breathing during the day and night. 


At the American Sleep Apnea Association, we are quick to point out that one body weight is not the sole reason why someone might develop sleep apnea. Some people, for instance, are born with upper airways that are crowded by over-sized organs (like the tongue or the tonsils).


Still others may have health concerns that lead to central sleep apnea, sleep or sleep disorder caused by a miscommunication between the brain and the respiratory system.


But being overweight is still at high risk factor for the development of obstructive sleep apnea. On one hand, carrying extra weight can lead to breathing problems during sleep. On the other hand, a person with a sleep-breathing disorder that is not treated, and who is not obese, may begin to gain weight as a result.


Science-based weight management strategies are a major focus of this annual event. It attracts patients, physicians, scientists, researchers and other weight-management experts from across the nation.

The OAC developed the concept in 2010 to generate weight loss between patients and healthcare providers that was nonjudgmental, empowering, and easy to initiate. Their effort is meant to promote weight loss, not to concern cosmetic, but to emphasize good health as the ultimate goal.



Obesity is still an epidemic

According to statistics at the OAC website, “Today, 93 million Americans are affected by obesity and more than 33 percent of Americans are affected by excess weight.”


With so many already struggling to deal with social stigmas attached to body size and image, unhealthy weighting is even more difficult if people don’t feel their doctors are in their corner as cheerleaders, advisers, and supporters.


Some people realize their weight loss can lead to many unhealthy medical conditions but struggle for the face of fear and judgment. Still others may have a serious impact on their health and well being.



Connections between obesity and chronic health problems

Carrying extra weight can lead to a wide range of comorbidities: health problems that exist in addition to obesity. 


Sleep apnea is not a new problem for children. Today, it’s estimated that up to 4 percent of children suffer from sleep apnea, many between the ages of 2 and 8.


Some of these children may already be overweight, but may be of normal weight but become obese over time. 


Think about it: the impact of untreated sleep apnea on developing a brain to lead to changes in metabolism that is caused by systemic stress to the body that occurs nightly as these children.


This can be the cause of unhealthy food cravings, daytime fatigue, low physical energy, behavioral problems, and other developmental concerns that could lead to unhealthy weight gain. Other apnea-related problems include bedwetting, sleepwalking, retarded growth, hormone imbalances, even failure to thrive for the youngest among our families. You’re not alone if your doctor (or your child’s pediatrician) suggests weight loss. It would be better for overall health, to address pain or mobility problems, or to report to chronic health problems.


Our understanding of the implications of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) on disease pathophysiology has been evolving rapidly. OSA is thought to be of multiple importance and is particularly relevant to cardiovascular disease. It has been implicated in the etiology of hypertension and in the progression of several established medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, and pulmonary hypertension. However, whether OSA is causally linked to the development of these diseases. 


Obstructive sleep apnea, clinically speaking, is a condition in which breathing is literally locked reduced or even completely cut off during sleep; until they wake up briefly to breathe again, even if they don’t remember waking up. Those who suffer from this condition are literally deprived of oxygen. In the case of OSA it occurs repeatedly, up to 15 to 30 awakenings per hour, so that the victim would never enter a deep or rejuvenating sleep phase. Obstruction is usually the accumulation of fat in the respiratory tract due to excessive weight gain, as well as genetic factors, such as the soft palate, large tongue and / or age.


Sleeping on the back, where gravity is the factor, can further exacerbate closure. So the two major risk indicators are obesity (which now also means BMI or 30 or more) and snoring. However, many pilots do not even realize they snore excessively unless they sleep next to someone. The body mass index is a very simple way to determine obesity, since it is a body weight ratio in kilograms divided by the square of their growth in centimeters. Although the FAA uses BMI 40 as a risk factor for OSA, from a clinical point of view, a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.


The problem is that this formula / BMI method does not take into account body composition. How much weight does the body have a lean mass and how much fat or fat? That is, inaccuracy, so it is good that the AME is now instructed by the FAA, not to judge the risk of OSA, based on the same body mass index, but also to interview pilots on their sleep quality and look for other markers of physiological, such as type 2 diabetes and blood pressure, which are also OBS markers. For the moment blocked with BMI as a primary screening method, since the actual execution of body composition analysis or body fat test is too long, it requires special training and is ideally carried out in the hydrostatic vessel.