Is Sleep Apnea Putting Your Health At Risk?
Your wife kicked you out of bed again last night.
No, she wasn’t angry. You weren’t in the dog house.
She just wanted to sleep, and she couldn’t bear another night of fighting to fall asleep as you snored — loudly — just a few feet away from her.
Your snoring could be a symptom of sleep apnea, which can have a serious impact on your health. We will discuss some of the most serious effects of untreated sleep apnea later.
For now, we want you to know that you can get help at the dentist office of Denise DiBona, D.D.S. in Red Bank, NJ.
Types Of Sleep Apnea
There are three kinds of sleep apnea.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This type of sleep apnea is the result of a physical issue. When you go to sleep, the muscles around your airways relax, which can cause those airways to become blocked. And that means you can’t breathe while you are asleep.
Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send the right to the muscles that control breathing when you fall asleep. Complex sleep apnea syndrome is a combination of OSA and central sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea And Sleep Deprivation
Sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing at night. You know that you need to breathe to survive. Your body does, too, so it will wake you up for short periods of time. Many times these are so brief that you don’t remember when it happens.
Regardless, every time to wake up, it disrupts your sleep patterns. As a result, you may not be getting the healthy sleep that you need.
Healthy sleep includes three stages of what is called non-REM sleep and REM sleep. (REM stands for rapid eye movement.)
“Deep sleep” starts in the third stage of non-REM sleep and continues during REM. Many health experts think these stages play an important role in helping us recover from the previous days activities.
With mild sleep apnea, and we stress mild, you may wake up as many as 14 times per hour. People with severe sleep apnea can have their sleep disrupted more than 30 times per hour.
Those disruptions prevent you from reaching deep sleep, which contributes to your sleep deprivation. This could explain some other symptoms that you may have experienced, such as:
- Waking up abruptly feeling like you are struggle to breathe
- Waking up frequently with dry mouth or a sore throat.
- Morning headaches
- Frequent daytime sleepiness
Health Risks Associated With Sleep Apnea
You may dismiss daytime sleepiness as a potentially embarrassing thing that could happen while you are at work or an amusing issue that might happen when you are watching television at home.
The truth is it can be far more serious than that. Drowsiness is a factor in 328,000 automotive crashes (including 6,400 fatalities) every year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that people with untreated sleep apnea are more likely to be involved in car wrecks that people without sleep apnea.
One study published American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2015 included 1,400 people with sleep apnea. The researchers concluded that people with sleep apnea were 2.5 times more likely to be the driver in a car accident than other people.
But car accidents are the only concern.
The constant fight to breathe at night affects people in other ways. It increases the stress hormones released in your body, which raises your risk of high blood pressure.
Knowing this, it probably won’t surprise you to know that people with sleep apnea are more likely to have cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
Treating your sleep apnea starts by diagnosing it. Dr. DiBona can help you arrange an at-home study or an on-site study at a sleep clinic.
Once your sleep apnea is confirmed, we may be able to help by designing a custom-fitted oral appliance that you can wear in your sleep. This helps you breathe by changing the position of your jaw in a way that helps your airways remain open.
As you get used to wearing it, you may find that you sleep deeper and snore less, which means your wife will sleep better, too.
If you live in or near Red Bank, NJ, and you would like to learn what it feels like to wake up after a good night’s sleep, fill our online form or call our dentist office at (732) 945-5343 to make an appointment.