Could just a little bit of weight loss help keep obstructive sleep apnea under control? Yes, according to Finnish researchers.Investigators point to the results of a small study published in the journal Sleep Medicine that suggests that when moderately obese apnea patients lose just 5% of their body weight they can stop early-stage disease from getting worse.Starting in 2004, researchers tracked about 50 moderately obese patients with mild obstructive sleep apnea between the ages of 18 and 65. Half were enrolled in a 1-year hands-on dietary and exercise program while the rest were given general lifestyle information during routine care visits.The goal? To shed weight by keeping fat to 30% or less of total calorie intake. After 5 years, the team found that patients who had shed and kept off 5% of their body weight achieved an 80% drop in apnea progression compared with those who hadn’t.The findings highlight weight loss as a key weapon in the fight against a chronic illness long-linked to heart disease risk.I’m Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the health news that matters to you.