September 22, 2019
If you’ve seen a commercial talking about sleep apnea, chances are they spent a lot of time talking about how snoring is a big problem for you and your partner. And indeed, the loud noise can make for some unpleasant nights. However, if your snoring really is caused by sleep apnea, then you have bigger problems to worry about than just disturbing your bedmate. Here are 5 ways this severe disorder might harm your health.
1. High Blood Pressure
Sleep apnea interrupts your breathing multiple times each night. Not only does this cause the oxygen levels in your blood to drop, but when you keep waking up due to the lack of air, your body becomes stressed. Both factors can increase your blood pressure, which is especially a problem if it was already high to begin with.
If you have higher blood pressure thanks to sleep apnea, it’ll put a strain on your cardiovascular system. You’ll be at a higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, and even sudden death from an irregular heartbeat.
2. Weight Gain
Sleep apnea and excessive weight are closely tied together. Obesity can lead to a sleep disorder, but surprisingly, the reverse is also true. When you don’t get enough rest, it affects your appetite during the day; you end up eating more than you need to. To make the problem worse, a tired body won’t be able to turn the food into energy in an efficient way. The result is a vicious cycle: sleep apnea leads to weight gain, which in turn makes sleep apnea even more severe.
3. Type 2 Diabetes
It’s been found that most patients with type 2 diabetes – 80% or more – may also have sleep apnea. This is largely because both conditions are strongly linked to obesity. Also, a lack of rest can hurt the body’s ability to use insulin, a major risk factor for diabetes.
If you’re constantly waking up throughout the night, you’ll naturally be groggy during the day. This makes you much more likely to have an accident when you’re driving or if you have a job that involves heavy machinery.
5. Acid Reflux
The American Sleep Association has found a connection between sleep apnea and acid reflux (more commonly known as heartburn). This is thought to be because of the way the disorder alters the digestive system and the pressure in the esophagus. Acid reflux can cause a burning sensation in your chest and throat, and it could lead to problems with swallowing or might even contribute to the development of asthma.
While the above health issues can all be extremely worrisome, you can avoid the worst of them over the long term by having your sleep apnea treated. If you think your breathing is being disrupted during the night, talk to your dentist about oral appliances or other kinds of therapy for sleep disorders; it could be a choice that ultimately saves your life.
About the Practice
At Dolfield Dental, we offer a wide range of treatments to keep our patients’ smiles stay healthy and bright. In addition to traditional dental treatments like cleanings and the placement of natural looking crowns, we can also provide oral appliance therapy for those suffering from sleep apnea. If you’ve been having restless nights, you can contact our practice in Owings Mills by visiting our website or calling (410) 902-4110.
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