New research into obese patients with the disorder sleep apnoea has revealed that changes in lifestyle alone are not enough to combat the condition. The study at Austin Hospital, outside Melbourne, Australia, found that in the cases of twelve patients with an average body mass index of 36.1, a programme of weight loss didn’t result in a consistent improvement of their sleep apnoea.
“Although there was some improvement in sleep disordered breathing, it was not seen in all patients and was not proportional to the degree of weight loss,” said Dr. Maree Barnes, senior research fellow at the Institute for Breathing and Sleep at Austin Hospital.
As more than 95% of reported sleep apnoea sufferers are obese, weight-related approaches are commonly viewed as the primary course of treatment. Other approaches include medication to stimulate the area of the brain that deals with respiration, wearing masks or other devices that ensure airways are kept open, and in some cases surgery.
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