I just found your tumblr and saw the recent question about doctors’ recommendations for sleep apnea patients, and since I’ve been through that *lovely* process, I thought I could give some insight. When I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, I was immediately told that the easiest solution was for me to lose weight (even though none of it is in “inches” around my neck or jaw, which would conceivably cause the apnea) Here are the other solutions that fall between “lose weight” and “cpap machine” that my doctor never bothered to tell me about:
-Mouthguard: you wear it to sleep at night and it holds your jaw forward. Molded by almost any dentist with a prescription from your doctor, relatively low price, considering it lasts a long time. or those without access to health care/insurance, there are self-making mouthguards available online, but I don’t know how useful they are.
-Exercises: simple exercises for your jaw and tongue that “toughen up” the muscles, so even when you are at rest they do not go slack. I affectionately call them “act like a dinosaur” exercises. I do them at work when I am bored and sure no one is looking at me stick my tongue out like a fool. Unknown efficacy, but have the advantage of being totally and completely free.
-Special Pillows: I’ve not tried these at all, given that they’re expensive for not-very-comfortable-looking pillows, but they can help position people who sleep on their backs or with their chins tucked down
These solutions all have the advantage of being a much more direct approach to handling the problem than just “lose weight” and are more sure of actually helping. FURTHERMORE, I would like to point out the major problem with telling people seeking treatment for sleep apnea to lose weight, and that is the fact that most people go for help because they are experiencing chronic and extreme fatigue. Sleep apnea means you are unable to get the proper restful sleep you need to live a normal life… and the solution my doctor gave me was “exercise more”? I was having trouble waking up to go to classes!
And for the record… After I got my CPAP machine, I didn’t lose any weight… but I did become way more active and regained my normal appetite. (It is almost like there is some sort of link between lowered metabolism and sleep deprivation /end sarcasm)
And then… after I went through all this, my dad went to a sleep specialist who found that HE suffered from sleep apnea as well. CPAPs all around! (it’s almost as if some sort of genetic component was at work here)
Since this is much longer than I thought it would be… My advice to anyone who thinks they might have sleep apnea is to bypass your regular doctor as fast as you can and go to a sleep specialist, they’ll be more used to seeing all sizes of people with the same exact sleep problems, and are aware that “lose weight” is not an acceptable solution.