Coping With Sleep Apnea

22 Sep 2016
POSTED BY Y Magazine

A poor night’s sleep can leave you feeling exhausted and irritable but long-term sleep disruption can actually lead to serious health conditions.

Not only is sleep apnoea a leading cause of disrupted sleep and daytime sleepiness but this disease is also a contributing factor to a host of medical problems.

According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), approximately 25 million adults in the United States alone suffer from obstructive sleep apnoea. This breathing disorder causes you to snore loudly and stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night for anywhere from 10 seconds to more than a minute.

Despite the prevalence of sleep apnoea, many don’t realise they have it. Others can’t tolerate a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and mask, which is the most common treatment for sleep apnoea. However, an effective alternative treatment for sleep apnoea is a custom-fit oral appliance provided by a qualified dentist. Treating sleep apnoea can lead to better sleep and ease your risk of developing these five serious health complications:

1. High Blood Pressure Sleep apnoea is common among patients with high blood pressure, and even more so among patients who have treatment-resistant high blood pressure. In medical studies, oral appliance therapy has been shown to help reduce high blood pressure. This treatment uses a custom-fitted, mouth guard-like device to move the jaw slightly forward and keep the airway open, without the need for a constantly running machine and face mask.

2. Heart Disease
Heart disease is a common affliction for those with sleep apnea, according to a study from the University of Wisconsin. The same study showed that the risk of dying from heart disease may increase by as much as five times among those who have untreated, severe sleep apnoea..

3. Depression
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US shows that women suffering from untreated sleep apnoea have a five times greater risk than usual for depression symptoms while men who have untreated sleep apnea are more than twice as likely as usual to exhibit signs of clinical depression.

4. Diabetes
Up to 83 percent of Type 2 diabetes patients have sleep apnoea and are not even aware of it, according to research published on Frontiers in Neurology. Recent medical research suggests that glucose control weakens as the severity of a patient’s sleep apnoea increases.

5. Stroke
The risk for stroke also rises with untreated sleep apnoea, according to research published in The American Journal of Medicine. The study shows that the risk rises even if the patient has no other stroke risk factors. Obstructive sleep apnoea is also frequently found among those who have already suffered a stroke.

Talk to your doctor if you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnoea. Common warning signs include snoring, choking and gasping during sleep. If diagnosed, a routine of consistent, nightly treatment, such as CPAP therapy or oral appliance therapy, is the best way to manage sleep apnoea and reduce the risk of developing serious health complications. Provided by an AADSM member dentist, oral appliance therapy is often easier to use on a regular basis for many patients. For more information, check out

* Family Features

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