on Jun 4th, 2018
Ranking just behind insomnia as the second most common sleep problem, obstructive sleep apnea affects an estimated 18 million Americans.
If you have sleep apnea, you have trouble getting your breath while you’re sleeping, so your body wakes you up to help you breathe. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs if you wake up at least five times per hour, but some people affected by the disorder wake up 30 or more times per hour.
Not only does waking up multiple times per night make you tired the next day, it can also lead to numerous unhealthy consequences. Below are some of the possible sleep apnea complications that can compromise your health.
Type 2 diabetes
Not getting enough sleep interferes with your body’s ability to use insulin correctly. When your cells don’t absorb insulin normally, your blood sugar levels rise, which can lead to diabetes. Approximately 80% of people with type 2 diabetes may also have sleep apnea.
High blood pressure
Waking up numerous times at night stresses your body systems and unleashes hormones that boost your blood pressure. Decreased oxygen flow into your arteries may also contribute to high blood pressure from sleep apnea.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you’re more likely to have a heart attack. Why? Your body isn’t getting a smooth distribution of oxygen, making blood flow to your arteries problematic.
Waking up frequently interrupts your sleep cycle and creates stress on your body, which may also be a contributing factor. Strokes and atrial fibrillation have also been associated with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea can contribute to weight gain, and being obese can make sleep apnea worse. When you’re tired, you release more of a hormone called ghrelin, which boosts your desire for carbs. If you wake up tired, it’s hard to push yourself to get the proper amount of exercise.
If you’re overweight with excess fat in your neck and tongue, the fat narrows the throat. Excess fat in the upper belly constricts the lungs when you sleep.
Risk of accidents
When you’re tired, you’re more likely to make mistakes at the wheel. You’re five times more likely to have a traffic accident than people without sleep apnea, endangering yourself, your passengers, and people in other vehicles.
A study conducted at the University of Washington concluded that if you have untreated sleep apnea, your mean annual healthcare costs are nearly double the norm. You’re also 10 times as likely to go on workplace disability, driving up your employer’s costs and decreasing workplace productivity.
Dental treatment for sleep apnea
Modern dental technology can help minimize your sleep apnea. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Lansdowne & Herndon Smile Design can provide you with a dental device that opens your airways and allows you to breathe normally so you can get a good night’s sleep.
One device resembles a mouthguard and helps separate your lower jaw from your upper jaw. Another option is a device that keeps your tongue where it should be so it doesn’t block your air flow.
Once your breathing is uninterrupted at night, you’ll feel like brand new person. You’ll wake up more refreshed and have more energy during your day. The device also reduces your snoring — your partner will thank you!
If you have sleep apnea, don’t wait any longer for relief. Call today or book an appointment online with Lansdowne & Herndon Smile Design for help in minimizing your sleep apnea.