CPAP Use Found to Cause Weight Gain

I generally counsel patients that good quality sleep is needed to more effectively lose weight. Conversely, poor sleep promotes weight gain. So you would think that starting CPAP for obstructive sleep apnea would help you to lose weight. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that this was not the case. In fact, using CPAP was found to cause statistically significant mild weight gain compared to sham CPAP users in this prospective randomized study. The active CPAP users gained about 3/4 of a pound over 6 months, where the sham CPAP users lost about 1.5 pounds. 

This study only adds to the conflicting results on CPAP use and weight status. There are a number of possible reasons why this can happen, but no one is absolutely sure. In fact, I’ve been disappointed myself that not not too many people can lose weight on CPAP. I had one patient who actually gained weight after a tracheotomy. Of course, I’ve also had many patients who did lose significant weight after CPAP, which only adds to the confusion. 

This particular study only showed weight gain with CPAP use. So far, there are no such studies showing similar results with dental appliances or surgery. Like what most scientific studies end with, more studies are needed.

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52 thoughts on “CPAP Use Found to Cause Weight Gain

  1. Debbie, Thanks so much for posting the results of your dr’s appointment. I hope that some weight reduction will help you; it helped me. Be careful with the diet pills. I think a good doctor would try to encourage more exercise instead. Keeping a log of the calories you eat is a good thing. Eventually, you will eliminate the high calorie foods and eating a low cal /healthy diet will become the norm.

    I’ve decided not to go back to my sleep Doctor. I know I gained weight on the cpap machine… and they think it’s the great answer. Being bloated and gassy all the time was uncomfortable, but when I started getting chest pains and had difficulty in breathing during in the afternoon, I knew the machine was NOT for me. In the past, I never had to concentrate in order to breath. Everyone is different and doctors are not always right. In my case, things that have helped include no more cocktails (once a week a little champagne), document calorie intake, exercise at minimum 30 minutes/day on elliptical, sleep with head elevated (a wedge pillow helps) or sleep on your side. If I am tired late afternoon, I meditate for 20 minutes to recharge.

    If anyone has any other suggestions, please post them. I’ve spent a lot of money on doctors visits, sleep tests, cpap machine and supplies. To me, it appears to be a profit center. I hope some folks are getting good results; I did not. This website has been very helpful as I don’t like to discuss this with folks I know. They just would not understand. Thanks to all!

  2. Thank you so much for answering my e-mail. I will be careful. My husband is a pharmacist and he looked at the side effects and thought it was ok to try. Yes I will be keeping a log too. My doctor will pull me off the pills if he see they do not work. I will not be going back on the machine no matter what. I am so thankful for this website words can not express. It has made me feel like I am not crazy. Since I have been off the machine (3 days) I have already dropped 1.5 lbs with no change in diet and I have not even had the opportunity to exercise like I have been due to an injury to my knee. So what does that tell you!!!! My stomach feels better and I don’t seem to be retaining as much fluid. Got a ways to go but at least I have found an answer and I have some hope. I will take your suggestions and put them to use. Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences. I pray that others who are struggling with CPAP and weight gain will find this website and put their minds at ease that they are not crazy and it is REAL. God Bless everyone and stay healthy!!!!!