Can Weight Loss Improve the Cardiovascular Outcomes of Patients with Obesity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Ayyad Alruwaily, Heshma Alruwaili, John Garvey, Carel W. le Roux

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Cardiovascular events are the primary cause of mortality in patients with obstructive sleep apnea and obesity. The rising prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea in recent decades has been linked to increasing rates of obesity. Obstructive sleep apnea has also been linked with many different cardiovascular diseases including coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation. Obesity is an increasing health concern globally, in part because obesity complications such as hypertension, diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. More than 10% weight loss may be required to prevent or reverse obesity complications. Treatment approaches to obesity include nutritional therapy, exercise therapy, pharmacotherapy, and surgical therapies. This review intends to identify the effects of weight loss on cardiovascular outcomes in patients with obesity and obstructive sleep apnea. Despite the strong association between cardiovascular diseases and obstructive sleep apnea, randomized trials have failed to demonstrate that treatment of obstructive sleep apnea reduces cardiovascular events, even in patients with established cardiovascular diseases. Weight loss in patients with obstructive sleep apnea improves HbA1c, systolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, but thus far no changes in cardiovascular events have been shown. The combination of weight loss with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) appears more beneficial than either treatment in isolation. Large well-controlled trials in patients with obstructive sleep apnea to assess the effects of different weight reduction programs on cardiovascular disease are still needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 24 May 2022


  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • obesity
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • weight loss


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