How weight management medications may affect your sleep

In addition to helping control diabetes and obesity, anti-obesity drugs and GLP-1 agonists such as Ozempic and Wegovy can help people sleep better.

The same was true for Jeannine Manning, who started taking Ozempic in March 2023. She takes the drug to help control type 2 diabetes and weight management.

By October, she had lost 50 pounds.

She told me I had ditched the apnea machine healthy. I fall asleep faster and sleep better.

Manning has suffered for 30 years from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a severe sleep condition in which breathing stops and starts while sleeping. This condition prevents the body from getting enough oxygen.

To help treat the condition, she has been using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for about 15 years, which provides constant air pressure to the upper airways to keep them open and able to breathe during sleep.

Eliminating the need for a CPAP machine due to improved sleep is another benefit of taking Ozempic, but it wasn’t something Manning had planned for.

I knew when my weight would increase and my snoring would increase, but I didn’t anticipate my sleep apnea [and] As she lost weight, her snoring almost disappeared, she said. I was more concerned about other health issues and didn’t even think about this.

Here’s how semaglutide medications, like Ozempic, affect sleep health.

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There are several different types of sleep apnea that people may experience.

OSA is the most common type of sleep apnea.

Anything that can block the airway can cause OSA. The most common reasons include:

  • obesity
  • large tonsils
  • changes in hormonal levels

Other risk factors include age, male gender, family history and genetics, heart or kidney failure, and drinking or smoking.

Central sleep apnea is another form of sleep apnea that occurs when the brain does not send necessary breathing signals to the body.

Symptoms of sleep apnea during sleep include:

  • start and stop breathing
  • pant
  • Continuous and loud snoring
  • Waking up frequently to urinate

Sleep apnea symptoms noticed upon waking include:

  • Feeling tired or sleepy due to inability to concentrate
  • dry mouth
  • Headache
  • decreased interest in sex

To diagnose sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend a sleep study, which includes monitoring your brain waves, heart rate, breathing, and oxygen levels while you sleep.

Once diagnosed, treatment options usually include lifestyle changes such as limiting alcohol consumption, exercise, and weight management.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. Other treatment options include oral devices, implants, oral and facial exercises, and procedures such as:

  • Adenotonsillectomy, removal of tonsils and adenoids
  • Removal of mouth and throat tissue to open the upper airway
  • The upper or lower jaw moves forward to make the upper airway larger

Although GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic are not officially recommended for OSA, Sethu Reddy, MD, president of the American Society of Clinical Endocrinology, said reports like Mannings’s are not surprising.

[It] He tells us that obesity is known to be associated with many adverse health effects, and that losing weight through any means is associated with improved health benefits. healthy.

He explained that GLP-1 drugs can improve OSA symptoms in patients with diabetes and obesity.

The most likely explanation for this improvement is weight loss.

The reduction of fatty tissue in the neck can directly reduce neck obstruction. Reduction in abdominal obesity may also lead to improvements in respiratory mechanics, and weight loss has been found to be the most important intervention for improving sleep apnea, Reddy said.

Karl Nadolsky, an endocrinologist and diplomat with the American Board of Obesity Medicine, says that biochemically, obesity exacerbates OSA. healthy.

Therefore, focusing on weight management can in turn reduce the severity of obstructive sleep apnea.

OSA is a common obesity-related complication that remains underdiagnosed and undertreated, he said.It is best to reach more than 10% [over] At 15%, weight loss can significantly improve sleep apnea, and symptoms can be relieved with greater weight loss. ”

Nadolski added that the relationship between obstructive sleep apnea and obesity is complex and multifaceted.

Obesity can cause obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and obesity itself can exacerbate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). [is associated] Insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk are increased, he said. Unfortunately, treating OSA with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) alone does not appear to improve weight loss.

Reddy said that because of the known effects of GLP-1 drugs on the brain, more research could explain sleep associations that are not directly related to weight.

GLP-1 analogues may also improve sleep apnea through central mechanisms, he said. Their effects on sleep and wakefulness through direct effects on the brain’s hypothalamus are currently being studied.

Reddy said that in order to prescribe GLP-1 drugs specifically for OSA, clinical trials would be needed to study the effects of GLP-1 analogues on OSA.

He said these trials are critical in seeking specific recommendations for FDA approval of these drugs to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

However, Nadolsky explained that the current study does point to an effect of GLP-1 drugs on obesity, thus suggesting some conclusions about the relationship between GLP-1 drugs, obesity, and improved sleep.

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