Can Reducing Weight Help All Snorers?

weight lossObesity is a growing problem around the world nowadays. It is also one of the stronger risk factors for obstructive sleep apnoea. Obesity is defined as a body mass index of more than 30, and people who are classified as obese usually have a higher risk for obstructive sleep apnoea, snoring and other sleep disorders. Obstructive sleep apnoea and snoring can lead to serious medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Obesity predisposes to snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea because it increases fat deposition in the tissues surrounding the upper airway and it predisposes to central obesity which often results to a smaller lumen and increased collapsibility of the upper airways.

A new study by Shukla et. al published in the Lung India, the official journal of the Indian Chest Society assessed whether losing weight can benefit all snorers regardless of BMI. This cross sectional study involved 349 subjects (196 males and 153 females) who were questioned about their snoring habits. Neck circumference, weight and height were measured and body mass indexes (BMI) were calculated. The volunteers were then classified into low normal, high normal, pre-obese and obese BMI groups. Snoring was compared between groups.

The results showed that there was statistically significant prevalence in snoring between the obese/pre-obese group with the normal BMI group; however there was no statistically significant difference seen between the pre-obese and the obese group. The prevalence of snoring was not significant between low normal and high normal BMI groups. It was also shown that the neck circumference of snorers were greater than the neck circumference of non-smokers. There was also no significance in the prevalence of snoring between males and females. The authors concluded that BMI target needs to be set at 25 kg/m2, in weight reduction programmes, to achieve clinically relevant response in a snorer. They also remarked that there is no need to put extra emphasis, on further reduction of BMI. Weight reduction, is not helpful in all adult snorers, especially those with normal BMI, where other causes of snoring, like fat around upper airways, need to be considered. Thus snorers with normal weight do not need to lose weight to stop snoring while those who are pre-obese and obese needed to lose weight to stop snoring.

In many longitudinal studies, it has been found out that even modest weight reduction can be effective in managing and reducing sleep apnoea. However, this is not applicable to all. In snorers who are of normal weight, other causes should be treated such as structural deformities. Correction of anatomical abnormalities of upper airways could be a better way to control snoring in persons of normal BMI.

The reduction of fat around the neck should be emphasized in snoring people who are obese. Thus it is not only enough that weight should be reduced; fat around the neck should be reduced by certain exercises so that the person can stop snoring. There should be exercises that target fat around the neck in snorers with high BMI. More studies are needed to study further whether other factors such as age and post-menopausal states may actually cause snoring among obese or non-obese people.

Reference:

Shukla AD, Jain S, Mishra R, Singh AK. Does 'weight reduction' help all adult snorers? Lung India. 2013 Jan;30(1):16-9.

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Somnowell Inventor - Visiting Professor Simon Ash FDS MSc MOrth BDS

Prof. Ash is the inventor of the highly successful SOMNOWELL Chrome device for snoring and sleep apnoea.

The Somnowell Chrome is made to exacting standards in the Somnowell laboratory under the supervision of Visiting Professor Simon Ash. Prof. Ash and his master technicians create each Somnowell Chrome device using their wealth of experience and expertise.

Prof. Ash works at the forefront of his profession. He is a Consultant and Specialist Orthodontist with over 30 years clinical experience, with a special interest in sleep related breathing disorders, TMJD, and bruxism. He currently works in Harley Street London and two private hospitals in London as part of a multi-disciplinary team managing snoring and sleep apnoea, and is Visiting Professor of Orthodontics at the BPP University.