If you’re among the 90 million Americans who suffer from snoring, or the millions more within earshot of a friend or loved one who snores, you’re all too aware of the impact disruptive sleep has on your daily life.
It’s not just about the restless nights or the groggy mornings, or even fighting fatigue throughout the day. Snoring is often the quintessential symptom of obstructive sleep apnea or OSA, the most common form of sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea may trigger serious medical complications such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and even stroke.
In this blog, our experienced team of general and cosmetic dentists at Trident Dental, located in Houston, Texas, share their thoughts on the five key benefits of managing your sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea explained
Let’s start unpacking this conversation by first describing what sleep apnea is and how it affects the healthy operation of your body. You probably know that sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder that's characterized by interrupted sleep caused when you stop breathing.
But did you know there are two main types of sleep apnea — obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea? Central sleep apnea is more rare than OSA and is all about your central nervous system. With central sleep apnea, your brain fails to tell your chest muscles to produce the actions to breathe in and out.
OSA isn’t a brain malfunction, but instead sleep disruptions are caused by partial or complete blockages to your upper airway. The typical person suffering from obstructive sleep apnea goes through a series of interruptions during a sleep cycle. Your brain eventually shifts gear and wakes you up so you can resume normal breathing.
Fortunately, sleep apnea can be controlled through treatment. Here at Trident Dental we conduct a series of tests, assess your overall health, and take a comprehensive medical history in order to properly diagnose your issue so we can develop a personalized treatment plan for your sleep apnea.
1. Say goodbye to snoring
Custom-made oral appliances are the go-to for many patients suffering from sleep apnea. Your oral appliance is customized to your individual specifications, so it’s more comfortable than the typical CPAP appliance, and may help you avoid invasive surgeries.
When you manage your sleep apnea, you can also say goodbye to snoring, and the awkward snorting, gasping, and body jerks that come along with disruptive breathing.
2. Enjoy a good night’s sleep
While you’re kicking all that noise and drama to the curb, guess what happens? You actually get to enjoy a restful, restorative night’s sleep, and so does everyone who shares your noisy, restless nightly routine.
3. Stave off high blood pressure and heart disease
But the benefits don’t stop there. When you control your sleep apnea, you control the most harmful complication of the condition — blood oxygen deprivation.
When you stop breathing during a sleep apnea episode, your blood oxygen levels drop suddenly, putting stress on your cardiovascular system. The stress increases your blood pressure, putting you at a higher risk for developing hypertension, as well as for having a stroke or heart attack.
4. Reduce risk of developing diabetes
Similarly, blood oxygen deprivation triggers an increase in carbon dioxide levels in your bloodstream, which may impact blood glucose metabolism, affecting your body’s ability to use insulin properly.
Sleep apnea can put you at a higher risk of developing diabetes or make it more difficult to control diabetes, if you already have the condition. By managing your sleep apnea, diabetes may be one less thing to worry about.
5. Decrease risk for getting cancer
Remarkably, some research has reported a link between some cancers and cancer deaths and sleep apnea. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine, patients who suffer from moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea were two and a half times more likely to develop cancer than the general population, and three times more likely to die from cancer.
If you snore or think you may have sleep apnea and want to learn more about treatment options, contact the compassionate and experienced team at Trident Dental. Call our office or book an appointment online today.