Do you use a CPAP machine to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)? Have you experienced body changes after CPAP machine use to treat OSA? Many individuals worry that there is a connection between weight gain and CPAP use. Let’s take a look at the research on this topic and discuss the potential reasons why some people may gain weight.
What is the Link Between CPAPs and Weight Gain?
Do CPAP machines cause weight gain? A study found that people who used CPAP machines were more likely to gain weight over a period of time. However, this study did not prove CPAP machines cause weight gain.
The reality is that some individuals will gain, some will lose, and some may stay roughly the same. Stay tuned to find out why.
Positive Body Changes After Starting CPAP for OSA
There are many stories online where individuals started CPAP therapy for OSA and changed their bodies for the better. For those who handle treatment with CPAP well and can sleep through the night with a CPAP, the body changes are often positive.
One such individual who benefitted from CPAP use was obese and exhausted before starting CPAP treatment. He started working out and got in better health after starting daily CPAP use. His frame of mind improved almost immediately. (1)
It’s vital to adjust well to likely CPAP issues, such as sleeping in the best position to keep the mask on without air leaks, sleeping well with the loud CPAP machine, and handling any facial rashes or stuffy noses.
Finding the best treatment for your OSA is crucial. CPAP is not the best choice for everyone, but some individuals feel like their CPAP is a miracle.
Why Do Some Individuals Experience Body Change with CPAP Therapy?
There are a few potential explanations for why some people may gain weight after using a CPAP machine.
First, the increased air pressure from the CPAP machine may make it more difficult for the body to expel air, leading to an increase in body mass. Second, CPAP therapy can cause less deep sleep, often linked to increases in body weight. Finally, some people may gain weight because they are less active during the day due to sleepiness from CPAP therapy.
Not everyone suffers from expelling air, less deep sleep, or daytime sleepiness from using a CPAP. However, if this is your experience, talk with your ENT doctor about other alternative therapies for sleep apnea.
How to Prevent Weight Gain While Using a CPAP
If you are concerned about gaining weight after starting CPAP therapy, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent this from happening.
- First, make sure you use the correct size mask for your face. If the mask is too big or too small, it can cause air leaks, leading to body mass gain. Air leaks are not a problem if you can sleep on your back and your sleep technician properly fits your mask. However, if you struggle with air leaks, you are not alone. You may want to try alternative treatments to CPAP if you continue struggling to sleep well with your CPAP.
- Second, try to be as active as possible and get regular exercise. Exercise can help to offset any potential weight gain from CPAP therapy.
- Finally, eat a healthy diet and avoid eating foods high in sugar or useless and nutritionless calories.
Are There Other Side Effects of Using a CPAP?
In addition to body changes, some people may experience other side effects from using a CPAP machine. These side effects can include nasal congestion, dry mouth, and headaches.
If you experience any of these side effects, talk to your doctor or sleep specialist about ways to mitigate them. For example, you may need to use a humidifier with your CPAP machine or try a different type of mask.
What Alternative Treatments Treat Sleep Apnea Successfully?
If you are struggling with body changes or other side effects from using a CPAP machine, alternative treatments may be more successful for you. These alternative treatments can include oral appliances, positional therapy, an implanted device, and surgery.
Oral appliances are mouthpieces that you wear during sleep to keep your airway open. Positional therapy involves sleeping in specific positions to prevent your airway from collapsing.
A new FDA-approved procedure can place an Inspire medical device that works with remote control. When you’re ready to sleep, you turn the device on. Inspire stimulates a specific nerve that helps open your airway for deep and relaxing sleep without apnea episodes.
And finally, surgery can involve removing excess tissue in the throat or correcting a deviated septum.
So How Should I Treat My Sleep Apnea?
There is no clear link between CPAP machines and weight gain. Some people may experience body changes after starting CPAP therapy, but there are many potential explanations. If you are concerned about gaining weight after starting CPAP therapy, talk to your doctor and work through what is best for your particular health issues.
We Can Help
At Enticare, our board-certified ENT sleep specialists work with you to find solutions for your sleep issues. We understand how sleep apnea can prevent you from living your best life. Come in for an appointment to discuss your sleep struggles or set up a sleep study in our state-of-the-art sleep clinic to discover why you suffer from disrupted sleep patterns. We help you sleep well and wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day!
- How a CPAP machine changed my life | British Lung Foundation
- Weight and metabolic effects of cpap in obstructive sleep apnea patients with obesity – PMC