The Connection Between Obesity and Sleep Apnea

sleep apneaIt’s no secret that obesity can wreak havoc on your health. Outside of predispositions toward diseases like diabetes and hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea in adults is most commonly caused by excess weight. Sleep apnea is on the rise in the United States, and outside of causing poor sleep quality, it can put sufferers at risk for further health complications. Fortunately, there is often a treatment for sleep apnea that coincides with obesity: weight loss.

Sleep apnea is a relatively common disorder, and even more so now that the majority of Americans are either overweight or obese. The disorder causes sufferers to stop breathing for periods of time in their sleep, which decreases the amount of oxygen in the blood. Sleep apnea is often accompanied by fatigue and sleepiness during the day, and loud, constant snoring at night. If you are both obese and experience any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from sleep apnea.

Studies also show that sleep apnea and the associated fatigue that comes along with it can reduce your ability to live a healthy lifestyle. When you’re tired and cranky, you’re much less likely to go to the gym and cook dinner instead of pulling through a fast food drive-thru and watching Netflix on the couch all night. If you have a predisposition toward or diagnosis of diabetes, sleep apnea may also exacerbate this condition.

When you lose weight, you remove pressure on your airways and make it easier for your body to breathe. By reducing the weight of tissue surrounding the airways, the lungs are able to more effectively provide oxygen to the rest of your body. Even a small weight loss—10% of your body mass—can result in improved sleep apnea symptoms. For severe sufferers, a combination of weight loss and assisted breathing devices may be needed to fully treat the condition.

Not everyone who is obese has sleep apnea, but those with obesity are much more at risk of developing the disorder than people at a healthy weight. According to the Cleveland Clinic, studies show that bariatric surgery can have a positive effect on sleep apnea, often to the point of resolving it altogether. Data shows that bariatric surgery is the most effective treatment for sleep apnea, and at least 80% of patients enter sleep apnea remission once they have lost enough weight.

If you experience sleep apnea and the associated side effects, Dr. Dirk may be able to help you get your restful nights back, along with a host of other positive benefits for your health. Even if you don’t think that sleep apnea is causing problems in your life, it is likely wreaking havoc that your body will pay for later.


Explaining the Duodenal Switch weight loss surgery procedure

The Duodenal Switch has been getting a lot of press and internet activity.  It is being hailed and the next best weight loss surgery.  The best explanation of Duodenal Switch is on my  Dallas weight loss surgery website. The simplest explanation is that it combines a Gastric Sleeve with a long Bypass. The medical thought process is that it will use the appetite suppression of the Sleeve and the powerful hormone / chemical changes of the Bypass.

The Switch requires very strict following of nutrition (high protein, low carb), vitamins (multi- vitamins, B vitamins and minerals). The long bypass part of the switch changes how the body absorbs the important stuff. All Switch patients will be taking a good multivitamin twice a day, a B complex vitamin once a day (one that has not only B-12 but all the other B’s, too), Calcium AND Vitamin D, and Magnesium.  Hey Dr. Dirk! That sounds great! Sign me up for 2!

Not so fast! Like all obesity operations, they are all different and one size definitely does not fit all.

There are obesity surgeons that believe the duodenal switch is for everyone (not Dr Dirk).  There are a great number of surgeons who feel the duodenal switch procedure is too complicated and therefore too risky (again, not Dr Dirk).If you have been reading my blog, you know that I treat each patient individually. I take each individual patients medical health in to consideration.  It was once believed that the Switch was only good for patients whose BMI was 60 or more.

Dallas weight loss surgery

With ongoing research, the Switch is also a great operation for patients who have had a prior obesity operation that is not working for them, meaning not only weight regain but return of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea.  Remember, obesity operations are designed to improve health AND get rid of or improve medical conditions, by helping you lose weight. Not making you lose weight.

The good thing about the Switch is what I just said.

The bad thing about the Switch – it is a bigger operation. It requires more technical skill on the part of the surgeon, particularly if it a re-do / revision (changing one operation to another) surgery. It there is a complication (something goes wrong) the recuperation after correcting that problem is going to be pretty long.

The most important thing about the Switch- the Switch does not play. You must practice good  nutrition and you must take all of your vitamins and supplements for the rest of your life!  Any patient that stops practicing good nutrition and does not take or quits taking their vitamins, mineral and supplements, the Switch is the quickest road to malnutrition, anemia, irreversible vitamin deficiencies, hair loss, nerve problems (neuropathy) and bone loss (calcium deficiencies / osteoporosis / bone fractures).

The Switch can have an unpleasant side effect. Switch patients can experience frequent loose, smelly (read toxic-kill small animals in flight-peel wallpaper off the walls – uncontrollable tearing of the eyes – mass exodus) you get the picture. Simple solutions to this effect is time, good nutrition, Beeno® and chlorophyll  supplements ( found in health food stores or section of your grocery store).

Do I have your attention?!

Uh, Dr. Dirk, forget signing me up. I’ll get back to you later.  Hey! Not so fast. The Switch is a great   operation. My professional opinion is this surgery is fantastic for patients who are mega morbidly obese (BMI>60). It is also a good option for patients with a previous obesity surgery that is no longer helping them be healthy AND regaining weight.

Since the Switch is a technically demanding operation, patients with previous pelvic or lower belly surgery (open hysterectomy, colon or rectal surgery, small bowel surgery). Patient with severe asthma or any medical condition that requires steroids (Prednisone) might not be able to have the Switch.  If you feel the Switch can help you, contact a bariatric surgeon. Speak with 2 or 3 Dallas bariatric  surgeons.

The Duodenal Switch is a great operation that will provide a lifetime of good health.