Diet and exercise reduce symptoms of apnea

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A study published in the European Respiratory Journal states that a Mediterranean diet combined with exercise can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a syndrome that manifests itself in frequent short stasis of breathing during sleep, which prevents normal sleep and affects the general condition of patients.

Night apnea - one of the most common sleep disorders, according to some data, occurs in 2-4% of the population. However, the incidence of this disease increases to 20-40% in people who are obese. In this case, weight loss becomes one of the main recommendations for improving the condition.

Mediterranean diet against apnea

Scientists from the University of Crete (Greece) conducted a study of 40 obese patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Twenty of them followed the Mediterranean diet.

Mediterranean diet consists not only in the superiority of certain dishes and products typical of Mediterranean cuisine, but also a certain ratio of nutrients: 60% of carbohydrates, 30% of fats and 10% of proteins.

In addition, all participants in the experiment had to increase their physical activity, which mainly included daily walks lasting at least half an hour.

All participants also passed SIPAP therapy, which includes wearing a mask, automatically ensures a constant positive air pressure, so that the airways remain open during sleep.

The researchers observed the participants in the experiment during the polysomnography. The observation included several parameters, including monitoring of brain activity and eye movements. Participants were tested twice: at the beginning of the study and six months after it.


The results of the study showed that the participants who followed the Mediterranean diet reduced the number of breathing stops (apnea) in the fast sleep phase, which is almost a quarter of the duration of the night's sleep. Moreover, admirers of the Mediterranean diet were more likely to adhere to the restrictions on calorie intake, were prone to greater physical activity, and weight loss was faster in them.

The results of this experiment showed improvements in one sleep phase in people with apnea, but did not reveal general improvement or mitigation of the severity of the condition. However, scientists hope to find other benefits of the Mediterranean diet for health during further experiments.

In addition, previous studies of Mediterranean cuisine have already shown that adherence to this diet helps reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and, of course, contributes to obesity and maintains normal weight.

Diet and exercise reduce symptoms of apnea

Category Of Medical Issues: Diseases