Men with excessive ‘visceral fat’, which is fat that develops around the abdominal region, may be at a higher risk of suffering from obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), according to new research from Japan. Studying nearly 300 men and 100 women – all OSA sufferers – between 2008 and 2010, the team looked as related issues such as body mass index (BMI) and where fat accumulated.
Researchers found that men were more likely to accumulate visceral fat more than women, and the development was associated with two indicators of low blood oxygen, which is a sleep anoea indicator. Lipid levels in the blood were also found to be higher in men. Notably, visceral fat in women wasn’t found to have any association with sleep apnoea
Obesity and unhealthy lifestyles have long been known as a contributory factor for sleep apnoea, due to the excessive tissue around the neck and throat having a potential to block the airway during sleep in certain positions. That is why a dietary change and exercise are some of the first recommended responses to a sleep apnoea diagnosis. Visceral fat, as well as now being seen as a contributor to sleep apnoea, is also related to a number of other medical problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
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