The Link between Bariatric Surgery and Improvement in Sleep Apnoea Symptoms

sleep apnoea

Sleep apnoea is a common sleep disorder characterised by pauses in breathing or shallow breathing during sleep. These interruptions can occur multiple times throughout the night, leading to fragmented sleep and poor oxygenation of the body. Left untreated, sleep apnoea can significantly impact one’s quality of life and increase the risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. In many cases, obesity exacerbates sleep apnoea symptoms, highlighting the critical role of weight management in its treatment.

For patients living with obesity, bariatric surgery is a proven method for significant weight loss and often provides a solution for patients suffering from sleep apnoea symptoms.

Understanding Sleep Apnoea

Sleep apnoea encompasses several types, including obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), central sleep apnoea (CSA), and complex sleep apnoea syndrome (also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnoea).

OSA, the most common form, occurs when the throat muscles relax excessively during sleep, causing airway obstruction. Symptoms of sleep apnoea may include loud snoring, choking or gasping during sleep, subsequent daytime fatigue and morning headaches.

Importantly, untreated sleep apnoea can lead to serious health complications, underscoring the importance of effective management.

Bariatric Surgery: A Glimpse

Bariatric surgery is a weight loss procedure designed to help individuals with severe obesity achieve significant and sustained weight loss. Common types of bariatric surgery include gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomySADI-S, and other less commonly performed operations. These procedures work by reducing the size of the stomach or altering the digestive tract, resulting in decreased food intake and nutrient absorption.

Bariatric surgery is typically recommended for individuals with a body mass index (BMI) for patients with a BMI of 35 or higher who have obesity-related health conditions – such as sleep apnoea – or in patients with a BMI of over 40 even if they have no health complications as a result of obesity.

The Link between Bariatric Surgery and Sleep Apnoea Improvement

Research has shown a clear association between bariatric surgery and improvement in sleep apnoea symptoms. The primary mechanism behind this improvement lies in the significant weight loss achieved post-surgery. Excess weight, particularly around the neck and throat area, can contribute to airway obstruction during sleep, exacerbating sleep apnoea symptoms. By reducing body weight, bariatric surgery alleviates the pressure on the airways, resulting in improved breathing patterns and reduced sleep apnoea severity and better sleep patterns.

Studies have demonstrated that individuals who undergo bariatric surgery experience a reduction in the frequency and duration of apnoea episodes, as well as improvements in oxygen saturation levels during sleep. These improvements translate to better sleep quality, daytime alertness, and overall better long-term health outcomes.

Furthermore, bariatric surgery has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and other obesity-related comorbidities, all of which are commonly associated with untreated sleep apnoea.

Patient Stories and Clinical Evidence

Real-life experiences of individuals who have undergone bariatric surgery provide compelling evidence of its effectiveness in improving sleep apnoea symptoms. Many patients report a significant reduction in snoring, daytime fatigue, and other sleep apnoea-related issues following surgery. Clinical studies have also clearly demonstrated a marked decrease in the severity of sleep apnoea in bariatric surgery patients compared to patients who have non-surgical interventions.

Additional Health Benefits

In addition to its positive impact on sleep apnoea, bariatric surgery offers a range of health benefits that extend beyond weight loss.

Patients often experience complete remission of their diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and overall quality of life. These metabolic improvements further contribute to the improvement of sleep apnoea symptoms and reduce the risk of associated health complications.

Lifestyle Changes and Maintenance of Weight Loss

While bariatric surgery can initiate significant weight loss and improvement in sleep apnoea symptoms, long-term success depends on adopting healthy lifestyle habits post-surgery.

Blackrock WeightCare provides a comprehensive follow-up program of care for two years after surgery. We believe this is critical to the best patient outcomes and improved health.

Patients are advised to follow a balanced diet, engage in regular physical activity, and attend their follow-up appointments to monitor progress and address any potential for improvements.  At Blackrock WeightCare we believe strongly that adherence to lifestyle changes and our active follow-up program are essential optimise all health outcomes – including sleep apnoea.

In conclusion, it is of course essential to approach bariatric surgery as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. By promoting significant weight loss and health improvements, bariatric surgery offers an effective solution for patients living with obesity and struggling with sleep apnoea.

Blackrock WeightCare strongly advocates that patients in Ireland must have improved access to world-class bariatric and robotic surgery at home in Ireland and avoid the need to travel abroad with less rigorous follow-up.

Surgery at home creates the best environment for optimising all health outcomes.

Your Health. We Care.