Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a potentially serious sleep disorder. It causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. This type of apnea occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. Snoring is typically associated with obstructive sleep apnea and often a precursor.
Although daytime fatigue and lack of energy contributes to weight gain, metabolic syndrome is also associated with sleep apnea. This can cause abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, and insulin resistance.
Just how vastly your sleep quality affects your overall health may surprise you. Some of the health risks associated with sleep apnea include…
Sleep apnea is more common in people who have had a stroke. The risk for having a stroke increases by the severity of sleep apnea. Stroke is 3 times more likely in males who have moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea has been shown to increase blood pressure by 37 percent. Sleep apnea increases the risk for coronary artery disease by 30 percent and cardiac arrhythmias by 54 percent. Moderate to severe sleep apnea increases the risk for congestive heart failure by 76 percent. People with sleep apnea have a 30 percent greater risk for heart disease as well as sudden death.
Weight gain and difficulty losing weight can be attributed to sleep apnea. This is because the hormones that regulate hunger and the feeling of fullness are compromised due to sleep apnea, which leads to difficulty in losing weight. Sixty percent of obese men and 50 percent of obese women have sleep apnea. An estimated 75 percent of sleep apnea patients weigh 130 percent of their ideal weight.
Untreated sleep apnea can cause anxiety, depression, lack of motivation, reduced attention span, moodiness, and poor judgement. Daytime sleepiness leads to higher incidences of motor vehicle accidents, reduced work efficiency, impaired concentration, and slow reaction time.
When people snore, most bed partners end up sleeping in separate bedrooms.
Sleep apnea contributes to a loss of libido (by decreasing blood flow).
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) occurs in 60 percent of people who have sleep apnea.
More than 30 percent of type 2 diabetics have sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can interfere with urinary hormone regulation, resulting in the need to urinate more frequently at night.
Untreated sleep apnea can result in higher medical expenses.
Although CPAP is a popular treatment for OSA, dental appliances are becoming more common as new research solidifies their effectiveness in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring.
However, CPAP is simply not a practical solution for many individuals. An oral appliance, custom-fitted and properly adjusted, may be a better alternative.
According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, “Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A custom-fit oral sleep appliance can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health.” (https://aadsm.org/oral_appliance_therapy.php)
They also state the advantages as:
• Easy to wear
• Convenient for travel
• Easy to care for
Oral appliances are custom-designed to be worn in the mouth while sleeping. They move the lower jaw (mandibular) slightly forward, which helps to open the airway.
However, the options with these appliances can vary a great deal. Some dentists offer the devices as an add-on to dental services. However, this is no place for a one-size-fits-all approach.
In our Shelby Twp dental office, we take sleep apnea very seriously. We continually take extensive training so our patients get proper diagnosis. We use advanced technology so we are able to create individualized appliances, designed to achieve maximum results.
This begins with Cone Beam 3D imaging, which provides clear, concise views at the lowest radiation levels possible. In one pass around the patient, cone beam captures up to 600 images for a unique review of airway passages.
These oral appliances are custom-contoured, small and do not interfere with sleep. They are also FDA approved and easy to clean. As a dentist who has made snoring and sleep apnea therapy an important part of my practice, we have seen patients go from groggy, foggy lives to a much improved quality of life.
If you feel you suffer from sleep apnea, begin with a free consultation. During this time, I’ll explain the diagnostic process and answer your questions. To schedule, call 586-739-2155 or tap here to begin.