Sleep apnea is a health condition that is on the rise in the United States.

Learn about the ways sleep apnea can hurt your health from Brentwood, CA dentist

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Sleep apnea is a health condition that is on the rise in the United States. The effects of sleep apnea go beyond being sleepy in the morning. If left untreated, it can hurt your health. Many people are unaware that a dentist can effectively treat sleep apnea. At Brentwood Family Dental, in Brentwood, CA, we’ve helped many patients with sleep apnea treatment. Let’s look at what sleep apnea is, how it can negatively impact health and what treatment options are available.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that causes repeated instances of restricted breathing. These instances can last for 10 seconds or longer. Individuals can suffer with varying degrees of sleep apnea, having anywhere from 5 to 100 occurrences in an hour. Because the condition occurs during sleep, many patients with sleep apnea are unaware they even have it. Loud snoring and choking noises during sleep are two of the biggest indicators of sleep apnea. If a friend or family member mentions your loud, frequent snoring and you are also experiencing some of the following symptoms, it may be time for a sleep apnea evaluation:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Dry mouth/throat
  • Weight gain

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How sleep apnea can hurt your health

When sleep apnea is identified and controlled, individuals can save themselves an increased risk of the following health problems:

  1. High blood pressure – Not only is sleep apnea related to worsening high blood pressure, but it can also make it more difficult for it to be controlled through medication. Repeated apnea episodes cause stress on the body, which increases blood pressure levels, while the level of oxygen in the blood drops due to restricted breathing.
  2. Heart disease – Sleep apnea increases the risk for heart attacks and strokes.
  3. Asthma – Sleep apnea can worsen symptoms of asthma and increase risk of complications from an asthma attack.
  4. Weight gain – This one is a double-edged sword. Sleep apnea can make it difficult to lose weight and being overweight can also increase the risk of the disease.
  5. Kidney disease – There has been a correlation of patients with sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes, which, in some cases, can lead to chronic kidney disease.
  6. Confusion and Depression – Not getting enough rest due to sleep apnea can leave people confused, unable to think clearly, and depressed.
  7. Memory loss – Sleep is important to memory, so many sleep apnea patients struggle with memory loss.
  8. High cholesterol – Sleep apnea can be linked to higher rates of LDL which is considered the bad cholesterol and is a risk factor for heart disease.

In addition, the lack of sleep due to sleep apnea can make many daily activities hazardous. Individuals with sleep apnea are at a greater risk of fatal car accidents and potentially catastrophic accidents at home or work.

Treating sleep apnea

The sleepiness, health, and lifestyle impact of sleep apnea can be far reaching, but the good news is that with treatment, you will feel better rather quickly and your risk factors for many of the health complications will drop.

Sleep apnea is more than just “not getting enough sleep.” If you think sleep apnea is affecting your life, it’s important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Traditional treatment for sleep apnea has often been the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. CPAP therapy uses a mask and hose attached to a machine to keep constant, steady air pressure. While CPAP therapy is very effective, it requires strict compliance to work. Many patients find that they have a hard time adjusting to the constant air pressure or experience claustrophobia from the masks which can lower compliance rates and render the therapy ineffective.

At Brentwood Family Dental, we offer an alternative to CPAP therapy. Oral appliance therapy can be a very effective way to manage mild to moderate sleep apnea. The appliance is worn during sleep to reposition the jaw properly and maintain positive airflow. Many patients prefer oral appliance therapy over CPAP therapy and enjoy the reduction in symptoms.

Sleep apnea is more than just “not getting enough sleep.” If you are in the Brentwood area and would like to learn more about how we can help you manage your sleep apnea, sleep apnea us at 925-344-5296 for an appointment.

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Dentist Brentwood California Dental Association Link American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) American Academy of Pain Management Dentist Brentwood American Dental Association (ADA) Link American Academy of Craniofacial Pain (AACP) American Academy of Cranio Dental Sleep Medicine ( ABCDSM) The American Osteopathic Association of Prolotherapy Regenerative Medicine – (AOAPRM)
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