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Sleep Apnea and Weight Loss: When Can I Stop Using My CPAP?

Posted by Lake Health Bariatric Team on Feb 13, 2018 11:02:00 AM

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Excess weight can prevent you from living the life you want and increase your risk of many health issues. With the help of weight loss surgery and lifestyle changes, you may improve or reduce your risk of health issues such as sleep apnea and other respiratory problems. Approximately 70% of Dr. Aviv Ben-Meir's weight loss surgery patients have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, also known as OSA. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you might wonder how long after weight loss surgery you can stop using your CPAP machine at night. Dr. Ben-Meir answers this common question. 

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is the reduction (hypopnea) or cessation (apnea) of breathing due to a narrowing or obstruction of the upper airway during sleep.

This results in a less-restful sleep. While not all patients with OSA have symptoms, the most common symptoms include snoring and not feeling rested after what should be enough sleep. The majority of our pre-operative patients have OSA and are being treated with either a CPAP or BIPAP.

Sleep apnea and weight loss

Many cases of OSA will resolve over time with weight loss. As you lose weight, you may believe that you no longer need to use your machine because you feel more rested throughout the day or no longer snore. However, not all cases of OSA will resolve with weight loss. Untreated OSA is associated with sudden death and right-sided heart failure so, please, do not stop treatment of OSA until you are told it's safe to do so.

Timing of sleep studies

A sleep study can determine if your OSA has been resolved and if it's safe to stop using your CPAP or BIPAP machine. We would generally recommend that you wait 3-6 months after surgery for a repeat sleep study, as most patients will lose 30-50% of their excess weight in that time. Either your primary care physician, pulmonologist/sleep physician or our office can order a repeat sleep study for you.

Risk of recurrence

Additionally, if you regain weight months or years after your weight loss surgery, your OSA can return. If you regain weight and have recurrent symptoms of daytime sleepiness, snoring or intermittently not breathing in your sleep, please tell your physician right away. It's important that another sleep study be ordered to see if your OSA has returned. Carefully following the post-operative lifestyle changes prescribed by the Lake Health Bariatric Surgery Center team can help you avoid regaining weight. 

Am I a candidate for weight loss surgery? 

If you are overweight and have health issues such as OSA, you may be a candidate for weight loss surgery with Dr. Aviv Ben-Meir. Learn more about your weight loss surgery options by taking our free, on-demand webinar: 



Topics: Bariatric Weight Loss Surgery