Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Weight Loss, Diet, MS, and Hypertension

Sleep doctor ready to answer questions

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

How beneficial is weight loss for most overweight people suffering from OSA?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss

Weight loss can be very beneficial. What’s more, in some instances it can eliminate obstructive sleep apnea. Examples would be massive weight loss, such as bariatric surgery, can eliminate sleep apnea in 60% of patients. Even a modest weight loss in patients with mild sleep apnea can influence a significant change in sleep apnea. Finally, weight loss can result in a decrease in the level of pressure required to keep the airway patent, which may be more comfortable.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

What tips or advice would you give to help people stick with a diet for medical reasons?

Diets, Weight Loss and Sleep

Watch your calorie intake closely. Avoid foods with a high glycemic index. These foods raise the blood sugar rapidly. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Monitor the amount of calories of added sugar content in what you eat. Women should get no more than 100 calories or about six teaspoons per day and men no more than 150 calories or nine teaspoons per day. Finally, avoid all foods with high fructose corn syrup. Fructose does not suppress the areas of the brain that control appetite. Most importantly, exercise regularly.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

My wife has MS and snores. She is always fatigued and sleepy and her memory is deteriorating. Her doctor says it is the MS but she never mentions her snoring to him. Could something like sleep apnea be contributing to her problem?

Snoring, MS and Sleep

Great question. Actually, several recent sleep research studies have addressed this question. First, sleep apnea is very common in MS, with as many as 1/3 of patients having it. In addition, when sleep apnea is present and untreated in MS, a recent study published in the journal Sleep demonstrated diminished memory and attention as well as increased fatigue. I would recommend your wife discuss her snoring with her neurologist or primary care provider.

Dear Dr. Rosenberg,

Is it true that insufficient sleep can contribute to health problems such as hypertension and diabetes? My husband cannot sleep for more than five hours per night and he is becoming overweight. Recent tests showed him to be prediabetic.

Insufficient Sleep, Hypertension and Diabetes

The answer is yes. Insufficient sleep, usually judged less than six hours, has been associated with obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. This is due in part to overstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and the HPA (hypothalamic pituitary access) resulting in the over-production of cortisol and other stress hormones as well as the overproduction of ghrelin, an appetite-enhancing hormone. We find most people do best with at least 6.5 to 7.5 hours of sleep.

Dr. Robert Rosenberg, D.O., FCCP, DABSM

Robert S. Rosenberg, DO, FCCP, is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Center of Prescott Valley, Arizona and sleep medicine consultant for Mountain Heart Health Services in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dr. Rosenberg is board certified in sleep medicine, pulmonary medicine, and internal medicine. He is a contributing sleep expert blogger and his advice has appeared in Women’s Health, Prevention, Ladies’ Home Journal, Parenting, and O Magazine, among others. Dr Rosenberg is a weekly newspaper columnist addressing sleep Q&As. Dr. Rosenberg appears on TV and radio and lectures throughout the country on Sleep Medicine. His book Sleep Soundly Every Night, Feel Fantastic Every Day  is a best seller. Dr Rosenberg’s latest book is The Doctor’s Guide to Sleep Solutions for Stress & Anxiety. Visit Dr Rosenberg’s website which is a wealth of information on sleep topics.

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    2 thoughts on “Ask the Sleep Doctor – Topics: Weight Loss, Diet, MS, and Hypertension

    1. Deb Reply

      I would like to know if there are better surgical options for OSA? I cannot tolerate CPAP machine even with nasal pillows so I am not treating my sleep apnea.Occasionally I hear about some promising surgical options but my sleep dr, isn’t interested, he only pushes CPAP for everyone

    2. Bikesh Lama tamang Reply

      Im 22 years old male and i have problem during my sleep. Its been a 3-4 years that i have dream of unkown places and unknown peoples most of the time and scary incidents which makes me shout at night and wake up as a quick and leave the bed some time i even had my leg injured beacause of waking up too fast . It happens most of the time like 2-3 time a week and some time its once a week and sometime once a month but nowdays i have been facing it 2-3 times a week. If someone is sleeping with me i make them scared and make them injured beacause the uknowing movements of my hands during my sleep .

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