Anyone who suffers from a sleep disorder will probably have lower levels of aerobic fitness and be unable to take in the required amount of oxygen during any form of activity, whether it be cycling, walking up a hill, or simply climbing the stairs. Research has quantified this on many occasions and it is particularly common in those who snore heavily or suffer from the very dangerous disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea causes the upper airway to become blocked by soft tissue in the back of the throat during sleep and this causes pauses in breathing and other symptoms, such as gasping and snoring. The sleep disorder has more than likely been caused by being overweight, and as a consequence less fit. In fact it goes further because being severely obese can causes decades of ill health and it can also reduce the average life expectancy by as much as eight years. It’s a vicious circle that exists.
Recent analysis showed that being obese at a young age was even more damaging to health and life expectancy. The research team, based at McGill University in Canada, said heart problems and type 2 diabetes were major sources of disability and death. Despite the health problems caused by obesity now being well known, many people often disregard the risks. This latest report, published in The Lancet, used a computer model to take those risks and calculate the impact of weight on life expectancy throughout life. Some of the key findings are covered in the following statements:
- In comparison with 20 to 39-year-olds with a healthy weight, severely obese men of the same age lost 8.4 years of life and women lost 6.1.
- Men also spent 18.8 more years living in poor health while women spent 19.1years in that state.
- Moving up an age group to those in the forties and fifties, men lost 3.7 years and women 5.3 years to obesity.
- Men and women in their sixties and seventies lost just one year of life to obesity, but still faced seven years in ill health.
Professor Steven Grover of McGill said: “Our computer modelling study shows that obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, and diabetes that will, on average, dramatically reduce an individual’s life expectancy. The pattern is clear. The more an individual weighs and the younger their age, the greater the effect on their health, as they have many years ahead of them during which the increased health risks associated with obesity can negatively impact their lives.”
This prompted the comment from the lifestyle manager of the charity, Heart Research UK, who said:
“How many more wake-up calls do we need?”
“This research study yet again supports the clear message that by becoming obese you not only take years off your life, but also life off your years in terms of experiencing more years in poor health rather than enjoying a happy, active and productive life.”