Are you overweight – massive increase in obesity reported

The number of people in the world who are obese or overweight has topped 2.1 billion, up from 875 million in 1980, the latest figures published in the Lancet show, and the figures include children as well as adults.

Researchers across the world were organised by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) in Washington, in a study that they said is the most comprehensive to date.  Scientists analysed data from surveys, such as from the World Health Organization, government websites, and reviewed “all articles” about the numbers of obese or overweight people in the world.

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The study said rates of obesity were rising across the world, although the rates in developed countries remain the highest.

Not one single country is succeeding in treating it and it is a rapidly worsening problem. In the study of 188 countries, the top ten accounted for over 50% of those regarded as seriously overweight or obese. The USA, China and Russia had the highest rates and the UK was third in Western Europe – but higher if young women alone were analysed.

For several years it’s something we’ve stressed on this website and will continue to do so as the problem is so closely related to snoring. Obesity is one of the main causes of snoring because tissue in the throat relaxes and the resultant vibration when air is forced through produces the sound we all know well – loud snoring. This restricts the vital supply of oxygen to the body.

Health risks posed by snoring have a significant impact on an individual’s overall health and life expectancy, according to medical experts. Snoring can also result from sleep apnoea and is linked to a variety of other health disorders. When considering the health risks associated with snoring, bear in mind that individuals whose snoring is caused by severe sleep apnoea have a 40 per cent higher risk of early death than non-snorers. If an individual has been diagnosed with sleep apnoea or is aware of an issue with snoring, there are numerous conditions linked to snoring and sleep apnoea that affected individuals and their family should know be aware of.

Health data suggests the louder and longer a person snores each night, the greater their long-term risk for a stroke. This correlation has been proven especially true in cases where patients experience daytime sleepiness or if their breathing stops during sleep, both of which are signs of sleep apnoea.

Other health concerns, such as high blood pressure, diabetes type 2, coronary artery disease, and other cardiovascular problems, have also been linked to sleep apnoea.

Prof John Newton, chief knowledge officer at Public Health England, said poor nutrition and lack of exercise were a big risk factor in Britain’s most deprived areas and PHE ran campaigns to help families be healthy, more active, and cut down on fat and sugar, he said.

He added: “Obesity is a complex issue that requires action at national, local, family and individual level; everyone has a role to play in improving the health and well-being of the public, and children in particular.”

Action should focus both on losing weight, fitness, and cutting out snoring, in order to produce a healthier nation and also to remove the current heavy financial burden from the NHS.

John Redfern


Two new studies underline the health risks of snoring

Whatever your age, or your current state of health, the warning that is given to you loud and clear by heavy snoring cannot and should not be overlooked.

Check-up time

Check-up time during pregnancy – and later in life for diabetes

Half of pregnant women who have hypertension and snore have OSA
New research shows that1 in 2 hypertensive pregnant women who habitually snore may have unrecognized obstructive sleep apnoea, a sleeping disorder that can reduce blood oxygen levels during the night and that has been linked to serious health conditions.

Habitual snoring, which is where snoring happens three or more nights a week, is the hallmark symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which has been shown to increase in frequency during pregnancy. And affect up to one-third of women by the third trimester

In addition, one in four hypertensive pregnant women who don’t snore also unknowingly suffer from the same sleeping disorder, according to the study that appears in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

“Our findings show that a substantial proportion of hypertensive pregnant women have obstructive sleep apnea and that habitual snoring may be one of the most telling signs to identify this risk early in order to improve health outcomes. Prompt recognition, evaluation, and management can only improve health benefits for both mothers and babies.”
Sleep apnoea linked to diabetes in largest ever study
This was a long-term study of over 8,000 adults from 1994 right up to 2111 and the findings were published online ahead of publication in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Patients with OSA were tracked for diabetes throughout this period and the results were conclusive. Previous studies have been on a smaller scale and also for shorter periods so this new study now leaves no doubt of the OSA-Diabetes relationship.

Patients were classified into groups of differing OSA severity according to how many pauses in breathing, or apnoeas, they suffered per hour of their sleep:

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5 or less          Non-sufferers of OSA                     Control Group

5 to 15           Mild sufferers of OSA                     Risk of diabetes 23% higher

15-30              Moderate sufferers of OSA          Risk of diabetes 23% higher

30 plus           Severe sufferers of OSA                Risk of diabetes 30% higher
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The main results showed almost 12% of all patients who snored heavily and most likely had OSA developed diabetes. Those sufferers who fell into the Mild or Moderate Groups had a 23% higher risk of developing diabetes than Non-sufferers, whilst those in the Severe group had a risk that was as much as 30% higher.

The following statement was made to sum up the findings:

“After adjusting for other potential causes, we were able to demonstrate a significant association between OSA severity and the risk of developing diabetes, Our findings that prolonged oxygen desaturation, shorter sleep time and higher heart rate were associated with diabetes are consistent with the mechanisms thought to underlie the relationship between OSA and diabetes.”

“These findings may allow for early preventative interventions in these patients.”

If you snore heavily, and gasp for breath, with the consequence of disturbed sleep, you should take immediate steps to correct your breathing pattern, and this will prove highly beneficial to your future health. The solution may be as simple as wearing a simple oral appliance.

John Redfern