Everyone knows that sleep disorders can make you feel groggy and sluggish during the day. But did you know that one sleep disorder in particular could lead to life-threatening complications? And what’s worse—it’s on an upward trend in the U.S. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that at least 25 million adults in the U.S. have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious disorder that needs to be treated in order to manage the risk of complications like heart disease and diabetes.
Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type, is closely associated with obesity. This is because obesity causes the accumulation of excess tissues around the airway. As a person lies back in bed, the excess tissue encourages the airway to close. While the patient is asleep, he or she may stop breathing for longer than 10 seconds at a time. When the brain realizes that oxygen has been cut off, it rouses the patient from sleep to restart breathing. In most cases, patients don’t realize that they’ve experienced a cessation of breathing, and they are unaware that they could be waking up dozens or even hundreds of times in one night.
It’s possible for people in a healthy weight range to develop obstructive sleep apnea. However, obesity is definitely a major risk factor. As obesity rates rise among American adults, so too is the sleep apnea epidemic.
When sleep apnea is properly controlled, its complications are also under control. However, many people with sleep apnea don’t realize they have it, and so they don’t seek treatment for it. When it’s not being properly managed, sleep apnea can increase the risk of the following medical conditions:
The New York Times reports that sleep apnea can also cause a three-fold increase in the risk of motor vehicle accidents, which may be fatal.
For years, the gold standard of sleep apnea treatment has been the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. While the CPAP works well, it isn’t always ideal. The mask can be uncomfortable and bulky, making it difficult for patients to sleep with it on. Some patients stop using the machine altogether out of frustration, which places them at risk of the potentially life-threatening complications of untreated sleep apnea. Fortunately, there’s a better solution.
For patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea who have difficulty tolerating the CPAP machine, dentistry can provide the answer. Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot at Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry in Suffolk County can create custom-made oral appliances that effectively treat many cases of sleep apnea. The device is small, comfortable, and easy to wear all night long. It works by gently repositioning the oral structures so that the airway stays open all night, allowing patients to breathe freely and stop snoring. In fact, some patients who suffer from chronic snoring may choose to wear an oral appliance to spare their partners, even if they haven’t been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Find out if sleep apnea dental treatment on Long Island could be right for you by scheduling a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Nick or Dr. Elliot in Suffolk County. Call today!
Additional resources on sleep apnea:
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