Sleep apnea is a disorder where you have frequent, intermittent pauses in breathing while sleeping. These lapses can last for up to 60 seconds. They are caused by soft tissue in the back of the throat that blocks the airway as it relaxes. When the brain is deprived of oxygen it hinders important physical systems.
Sleep apnea is connected to heart disease
People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) are more likely to suffer from heart disease. Strokes and atrial fibrillation are also associated with OSA. Many medical professionals believe the critical factor may be decreased oxygen and the stress of waking up often during the night.
Sleep apnea is linked to high blood pressure
Millions of Americans are affected by high blood pressure. There are lifestyle issues that increase the risk of having the condition, and untreated sleep apnea is also linked to it. If you already have high blood pressure, sleep apnea can make it worse. In another cruel twist of fate, sleep apnea can also make it harder to manage blood pressure with medication. When you wake up often during the night, your body becomes stressed. That makes your hormones systems go into overdrive which, in turn, can raise blood pressure.
Sleep apnea is associated with Type 2 Diabetes
Sleep apnea is common among men and women with type 2 Diabetes. Research identifies that blood sugar levels are higher among people with OSA. Obesity raises the risk for OSA and Type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, treatment for OSA can decrease blood sugar levels.
Sleep apnea increases the risk of premature death
Premature death is not really a “chronic health condition” as described in the title–it’s the ultimate terminal health issue! It’s essential to understand that untreated sleep apnea may, in fact, be an issue of life or death. In a recent study it was found that men and women with severe OSA have a much higher mortality risk than those without.
There is a dental treatment option for sleep apnea
The health risks of untreated sleep apnea are as serious as a heart attack. If you suspect you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, seek a professional diagnosis ASAP. At Houston Sleep Solutions, we expertly treat OSA with oral appliance therapy (OAT). Oral appliance therapy uses a custom-fit, “mouth guard-like” device worn only during sleep. The custom-fitted appliance helps maintain an open, unobstructed airway. Many men and women with OSA tolerate an oral appliance better than other treatments. If you believe you might have OSA, call today to schedule a sleep apnea consultation.
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