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Obesity linked to sleep disorders: Study

July 21st, 2010   |   Posted in: Uncategorized

Specialists at a sleep clinic in Newcastle, Australia have analyzed 20 years of patient’s records and found that their patients are becoming increasingly obese. This means that the rise in obesity rates is directly related to rise in sleep problems they say. Between 1987 and 2007, more than 14,000 people checked into the sleep clinic at Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital. The study is published in The Medical Journal of Australia.

Specialist Dr Jeffrey Pretto said, “We found that the average male that we did a sleep study on put on about 10kg, and the average female about 12kg…The other interesting finding is the instance of severe obesity – that is if they have a body mass index of over 40.” He explained, “Back in 1987, only 3 per cent of people that were referred to us for sleep studies we’d classify as having morbid obesity…In 2007, that went up to 15 per cent. It’s gone up by a factor of five.” The research showed for every unit increase on the body mass index, male patients suffered an extra 5.5 problematic breathing events per hour of sleep while for women they had an additional 2.8 events.

The severity of the disorder is also linked to obesity he said. “How many times each hour people actually stop breathing, or slow their breathing down significantly – that marker is very much linked to body mass index…As people’s body weight goes up, the severity of their sleep apnea gets worse, “ he explained. He warned that unless the obesity epidemic is curbed sleep problems are likely to rise further. “There will be an ongoing higher demand for sleep laboratory services and treatment provision in Australia over the coming years,” Dr Pretto said.

By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD  www.news-medical.net