We all know that people are more likely to suffer sleep apnea if they are overweight, and that lifestyle modification can be used to help with sleep apnea treatment. However, some people are skeptical about the long-term effect of this type of treatment, especially given that many people regain lost weight. However, a recent study showed that patients could, indeed, get long-term reduction in weight and sleep apnea with an intensive lifestyle intervention.

Lifestyle Intervention

According to the study published on May 1, 2013, obese adults may see significant sleep apnea reduction at four years from lifestyle intervention. The study looked at 264 obese adults with type 2 diabetes. These adults were randomly divided between the intervention group and the counseling group. The intervention group was put on a behavioral weight loss program, while the counseling group was given information on type 2 diabetes.

The two groups received follow-up at 1, 2, and 4 years. The intervention group saw significant weight loss, and maintained about half of it. They lost an average of 23 pounds initially, compared to the counseling group, and were still about 11 pounds lighter than the control group at 4 years. The intervention group also saw reductions in their apnea-hypopnea index that was related to their weight loss, with an initial reduction of about 10 events per hour at one year, compared to the counseling group. By four years, the intervention group still had, on average, 8 fewer events per hour than the counseling group.

There Are Many CPAP Alternatives

This study shows that people can get good long-term reductions in the severity of their sleep apnea using treatments other than CPAP. Lifestyle changes, combined with a treatment like oral appliance therapy are also very effective for controlling sleep apnea.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and are looking for an alternative to CPAP, please call (303) 691-0267 at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado in Denver today. Sleep apnea is a life threatening condition, and the sooner you can get treatment, the better.