It's common knowledge that obesity is one of the main causes of sleep apnea. How, the, do we account for the 40 to 60% of sleep apnea victims who are not obese?
Enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a deformed uvula or soft palate - These conditions can be the culprits in some cases. So can liver disease. But this still leaves many cases of apnea unaccounted for.
Researchers at the University of Toronto Center for Sleep Medicine have discovered that prolonged sitting is another possible cause. In this day of sedentary lifestyles, many of us spend hours sitting at a desk or in front of a computer. Add to that, the many truck drivers who suffer from sleep apnea. Some of these people are also obese, but that can be another result or prolonged sitting.
"Overnight fluid displacement from legs, related to prolonged sitting, may play a previously unrecognized role in the pathogenesis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea," wrote principle investigator, T. Douglass Bradley, M.D., professor of medicine and head of the research team.
Prolonged sitting causes fluids to gather in the legs. When the person lies down, the fluid moves from the legs to the upper body and could reach the neck, causing upper airway constriction. The researchers also discovered that the circumference of the legs and neck changed overnight.
The study involved 23 non-obese men suspected of having sleep apnea. The rate of sleep apnea was related to the length of time spent sitting and revealed
The way to combat this problem is with a daily exercise plan and less time spent sitting.