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The Health Consequences of Not Treating Your Sleep Apnea

September 11, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — columbussleepcenter @ 8:30 pm
man snoring from sleep apnea

More than 22 million Americans are missing out on a good night’s sleep because they suffer from a condition called sleep apnea. A common sleep breathing disorder that results in several stoppages in oxygen flow throughout the night, it leaves people susceptible to a host of life-threatening health conditions. Continue reading to learn why it is so important to receive treatment for sleep apnea.

The Health Problems Related to Sleep Apnea

Unfortunately, failing to get enough sleep at night can cause more problems than just daytime lethargy and irritability. Sleep is an absolute necessity for maintaining mental and physical wellness. Additionally, it helps to sustain the body’s natural internal clock, called the circadian rhythm.

When the sleep cycle is interrupted, there is a greater chance of developing hypertension, heart disease and suffering a stroke. There is also evidence that acid reflux and the development of Alzheimer’s disease could be linked to untreated sleep apnea.

People who suffer from sleep apnea are also prone to excessive weight gain, which can trigger hormonal responses that contribute to compromised total health.

The Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea

Some of the typical indicators of sleep apnea are loud snoring, pauses in breathing and gasping sounds. However, you will need a spouse, partner or family member to alert you of these behaviors.

Here are symptoms that you can be on the lookout for:

  • Memory loss
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Morning headaches or sore throat
  • Dramatic change in mood or behavior
  • Frequently waking and feeling out of breath

How Sleep Apnea Can be Treated

Throughout the years, the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine has been the standard form of treating sleep apnea. However, many patients find it challenging to wear a mask with a tube connected to it while sleeping. Another complaint is that the machine is loud.

The alternative is to have an oral appliance custom designed by a sleep dentist. Unlike the CPAP machine, it is completely quiet and can comfortably fit inside the mouth. Instead of forcing air into the throat, it gently shifts the jaw forward so that the natural breathing process can happen.

For more severe cases of apnea, the dentist may recommend combined therapy, which involves using the CPAP machine (at a lower setting) and an oral appliance.

Be Proactive

Instead of waiting for serious health conditions to develop, it is much better to pay attention to the warning signs of sleep apnea. Start by letting your doctor know so you can take a sleep test. After you are diagnosed, you can then seek treatment from a trained sleep dentist. By being proactive, you can finally get the nightly rest that you need and lead a healthier and more satisfying life!

About the Author

Dr. Eric Buck earned his dental degree from The Ohio State University College of Dentistry. With nearly 20 years of experience caring for patients, he has a wealth of knowledge to share. A member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Buck helps patients rest better at The Columbus Sleep Center, and he can be reached for more information or to schedule a visit through his website.

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