Approach the patient with obstructive sleep apnea and obesity

Emily Jane Meyer, Gary Allen Wittert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and obesity are highly prevalent and bidirectionally associated. OSA is underrecognized, however, particularly in women. By mechanisms that overlap with those of obesity, OSA increases the risk of developing, or having poor outcomes from, comorbid chronic disorders and impairs quality of life. Using 2 illustrative cases, we discuss the relationships between OSA and obesity with type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, cardiovascular disease, cognitive disturbance, mood disorders, lower urinary tract symptoms, sexual function, and reproductive disorders. The differences in OSA between men and women, the phenotypic variability of OSA, and comorbid sleep disorders are highlighted. When the probability of OSA is high due to consistent symptoms, comorbidities, or both, a diagnostic sleep study is advisable. Continuous positive airway pressure or mandibular advancement splints improve symptoms. Benefits for comorbidities are variable depending on nightly duration of use. By contrast, weight loss and optimization of lifestyle behaviors are consistently beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1267-e1279
JournalThe Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Mar 2024


  • CPAP
  • OSA
  • cardiovascular disease
  • obesity
  • obstructive sleep apnea
  • type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical

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