Sleep apnea could be affecting your life right now and you might not even know it. From waking up often and feeling tired all day to snoring, this highly prevalent sleep disorder could be wreaking havoc on your life. Let’s dive deeper to understand this sleep disorder and then discuss three reasons to address your sleep apnea as soon as possible.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Your breathing either stops randomly or is limited. This can happen as often as 30 times per hour. This lack of oxygen causes you to wake up, so your brain can restart the correct breathing process. Waking sessions are often so quick, you don’t even realize it. However, your mind and body feel the negative effects. That’s why it’s important to identify the symptoms soon.
Since you might not even know you have it, watch for these symptoms:
- Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
- Gasping for air
- Falling asleep throughout the day
- Extreme drowsiness
- Frequently having to urinate at night
- Dry mouth
- Waking up with headaches
Now that we’ve understood sleep apnea and its symptoms. We need to dive more into the reasons why you should address it.
3 Reasons You Should Address Your Sleep Apnea Today
1. Improve Your Quality of Sleep
The most immediate reason to treat sleep apnea today is to improve your quality of sleep. It ruins your overall quality of sleep. Snoring and restless sleep also affects your sleep partner. Lack of sleep is a serious problem.
Severe drowsiness from the constant sleep/wake cycle makes it difficult to focus and stay awake. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people with sleep apnea are 15 times as likely to be in a car accident.
It’s been proven that a lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can be as detrimental to your brain as being drunk. You have trouble processing information, following instructions, and understanding emotions. If your sleep apnea is left untreated, your risks for long-term mental decline are higher too, such as dementia. Simply being able to sleep normally is a vital part of having a healthy mind and body.
2. Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Issues
Having your brain working against you due to a disease you don’t even realize you have is disturbing enough. However, it’s important to address sleep apnea quickly, even if you think it’s just snoring. Your heart will thank you.
Suddenly stopping breathing triggers your body’s stress response. When those hormones are released, they cause undue stress on your heart. Normal stress isn’t a problem. When your heart deals with dozens of stress events every night, your risk of heart disease goes up as well. You’re also at risk for hypertension, stroke, irregular heartbeats, atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis. In one study, 43% of people diagnosed with mild OSA also had hypertension. And, around 70% of recovering stroke patients had a breathing-related sleep disorder, such as OSA.
3. Treat Sleep Apnea to Reduce Other Symptoms
Many people believe they just snore and don’t think anything else about it. That’s how sleep apnea also got the nickname of snoring disease. Yet, it’s much more serious than a disruptive snore.
As you might expect by now, constantly waking up at night, even for just a few seconds at a time, is enough to cause major health problems.
Outside of poor cognitive function and cardiovascular issues, you’re also at an increased risk for:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Frequently and/or severe headaches
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Loss of libido and even impotence in men
- Nocturia (frequent nighttime urination)
- Premature death
Until now, you probably didn’t even realize how important sleep is to your overall health. From helping better regulate blood sugar levels to regulating appetite, proper sleep is necessary to feel your best. For some people, they discover their depression was actually a symptom of dealing with sleep apnea and their symptoms decrease once they start treatment.
The most shocking of all is likely premature death. While the risk of sudden death is low (but not impossible), it’s usually the cardiovascular risks that ultimately lead to premature death. Left untreated, you double your risk of a fatal heart attack or other cardiac event. With treatment, your risks are drastically reduced.
Talk with Your Doctor or Dentist
Often, people go to their doctor to treat the side effects of sleep apnea without realizing the underlying cause. It’s important to talk to your doctor about any sleep-related problems as well. After all, treating sleep-related breathing disorders reduces your risk of other minor and severe health issues.
Surprisingly, your dentist may be able to create a treatment plan for obstructive sleep apnea. While 90% of the 20 million Americans suffering from this disorder are still undiagnosed, if you suspect you might have it, contact your doctor or dentist today.
Visit Highly Trained Dentists in Richmond, VA For Help
At Cosmetic and Laser Dental Spa of Richmond, Dr. Sarah Wilmer and her team will help create a custom sleep apnea treatment using dental devices or Nightlase, a non-surgical laser treatment. Contact us today to book an appointment.