Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sleep Apnea: A Life-Threatening Disorder

sleep apneaIs your partner snoring and keeping you awake? Have you ever gotten more than eight hours of sleep and still felt tired? It can be frustrating, especially when that exhausted feeling lingers throughout the day. But what if you focused on improving the quality of your sleep instead of increasing the length of it? Sleep apnea is a disorder that hinders your ability to sleep soundly, but many don’t know they have it until they’re examined by a dentist.

The most common type of sleep apnea – and the one your dentist can help with – is obstructive sleep apnea. This involves something blocking your airway during deep stages of sleep and can happen up to 70 times per minute. This means you can never truly get a deep sleep, which causes tiredness and even puts your life at risk.

Risks of Sleep Apnea
Your body repairs itself when you sleep, so you basically wake up in a damaged state if you don’t get quality sleep. That puts you at higher risk for common life-threatening issues like these:

  • Heart failure – since your oxygen level drops frequently with sleep apnea, it causes your body to release more stress hormones and increase your heart rate. This can lead to heart problems like high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats or even a heart attack or stroke.
  • Obesity/diabetes – about half of people with sleep apnea tend to be overweight, as disrupted sleep changes how your body uses energy properly.
  • Mental/emotional issues – those with sleep apnea are at higher risk for mental or emotional issues like mood disorders, Alzheimer’s and depression.
  • Treatment for Sleep Apnea
    Believe it or not, one person who can diagnose and treat your sleep apnea (and possibly save your life) is your dentist. With a simple examination, they can identify signs of sleep apnea – such as evidence of teeth grinding – and prescribe treatment.
    The most common treatments dentists use for sleep apnea are oral appliances. These custom-fit devices adjust your jaw to keep your airway open and prevent blockage. They’re also adjustable, so you can rest assured yours will be comfortable and effective.
    Stop tolerating exhaustion (and risking your life) and start breathing regularly again at night. Schedule a sleep apnea consultation with Lebowitz Dental Associates today at 602-264-2905.