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Sleep Apnea and Overall Health

woman sleepingDo you keep waking up in the morning tired and with a throbbing headache? Has your partner ever complained of your loud snoring and gasping sounds several times in the middle of the night?
You may be suffering from sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious nighttime disorder, which is characterized by a repeated cessation in breathing while you are sleeping. Obstructive and central and the two types of sleep apnea, however, obstructive sleep apnea is more prevalent.

At Brush & Floss Dental Center, our doctors can treat your symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea through various therapies and non-invasive treatments.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When you are sleeping at night, the muscles on the back of your throat may relax to such an extent that they block your airways. This results in a decrease in the blood oxygen level, which triggers the brain into waking you up. As a result, you may abruptly wake up from sleep. The period of waking up is extremely short, often a fraction of a second, so you may not be aware that you are up in the night.
However, your partner may hear you making a spluttering or gasping sound as you come awake.

In severe conditions, episodes of sleep apnea may occur hundreds of time in a single night. As a result, the person may feel tired, suffer from daytime sleepiness, experience irritability, and may have difficulty concentrating.
However, sleep apnea also poses much greater dangers and long-term health risks than lack of sleep.

Complications Related to Sleep Apnea

Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea may lead to serious medical complications and health issues. These affect the following:
•  Respiratory System: Since sleep apnea results in a low amount of oxygen going into your body and it can worsen certain respiratory issues like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People who have this condition may feel short of breath and light-headed and may not be able to engage in exercise.
•  Cardiovascular/Circulatory System: The abrupt drop in blood oxygen levels can lead to high blood pressure and put a strain on your cardiovascular system. It can also put you at risk of hypertension. In addition, untreated sleep apnea may lead to an increased risk of irregular heartbeats, stroke, and heart attack, all of which can be fatal.
•  Endocrine System: People with sleep apnea may develop insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes. This means you will have high blood sugar levels, which can also lead to obesity that can exacerbate your sleep apnea symptoms.
•  Hepatic System: People with sleep apnea are more at risk of liver malfunctions. The condition can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which manifests as high levels of liver enzymes, scarring on the liver, liver inflammation, and in severe cases, liver failure.
•  Digestive System: Sleep apnea can also result in a range of digestive disorders, including heartburn as well as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which may also interfere with your sleep.
•  Reproductive System: Sleep apnea can also reduce sexual drive in both men and women. In men, this condition can lead to erectile dysfunction and may result in decreased male fertility.
•  Complication with Medication/Surgery: Sleep apnea is a cause for concern, especially if you are taking certain medication or need to have surgery under general anesthesia. People with sleep apnea may have trouble breathing when they are sedated and lying supine. They may also experience certain complications after surgery because of their breathing problem.

Sleep apnea not just interrupts your nightly rest, but it also puts you at increased risk of several diseases. However, there are ways to treat this condition. At Brush & Floss Dental Center, our doctors can offer conservative therapeutic treatments like the use of a CPAP machine or oral appliances to prevent your airway from being blocked.

Some people may also benefit from losing weight and abstaining from alcohol consumption.

If you think you have sleep apnea, call us today at (203) 683-5253 and we can recommend an appropriate treatment plan for you.

Brush & Floss Dental Center

4949 Main Street Stratford, CT 06614

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