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Sleep Apnea: Are there health risks?

Sleep Apnea: Are there health risks?

sleep apnea LancasterDid you know that untreated sleep apnea affects your overall health? Not only can sleep apnea rob you of the rest you need to function at your best, it also strains your emotional and physical health, too. Sleep is an integral part of life. The various stages of sleep provide different benefits. For example, REM sleep is vital to optimal brain function while deep sleep is important for rejuvenating tissues and organs. A patient with sleep apnea is unable to progress naturally through the various stages of sleep. Furthermore, research is pointing to a link between sleep apnea and chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, depression, and memory loss. Our dentist explains.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition where soft oral tissues collapse during sleep and block airways. When this occurs, it forces the body to slightly wake from sleeping to resume proper breathing. This cycle will occur many times throughout the night. The constant waking throughout the night, over time, will eventually lead to sleep deprivation that can affect mood and cognitive abilities.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Symptoms of sleep apnea can be hard to detect since the patient is sleeping. Normally, a patient’s bed partner may notice symptoms such as gasping for air or obstructive snoring. Other symptoms include feeling fatigue—even after a full eight hours of sleep, waking up with dry mouth, and experiencing morning headaches.

How can sleep apnea affect health?

Sleep apnea may affect overall health in many ways. The constant cessation of breath can deprive the body of necessary oxygen, which assists with many of the body’s restorative functions. Erratic heart rhythms caused by waking throughout the night instead of a slow, steady heart rate can strain the heart muscle as well. Furthermore, sleep deprivation affects all functions of the body and affects mood. Patients with sleep apnea typically suffer with depression and irritability.

To learn more about sleep apnea and your treatment options, contact our team of dentists at Friendly Dental Care to schedule an appointment.