The Effects of Sleep Apnea on the Body
Sleep apnea is a condition in which your breathing repeatedly pauses while you sleep. When this happens, your body wakes you up to resume breathing. These multiple sleep interruptions prevent you from sleeping well, leaving you feeling extra tired during the day.
Sleep apnea does more than make you sleepy, though. When left untreated, it can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and other long-term health risks.
Sleep apnea happens when your airway becomes blocked or collapses during the night. Each time your breathing restarts, you might let out a loud snore that wakes both you and your bed partner.
Many health conditions are linked to sleep apnea, including obesity and high blood pressure. These conditions, coupled with the lack of sleep, can harm many different systems in your body.
By depriving your body of oxygen while you sleep, sleep apnea can worsen symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). You might find yourself short of breath or have more trouble exercising than usual.
People with sleep apnea are more likely to develop insulin resistance, a condition in which the cells don’t respond as well to the hormone insulin. When your cells don’t take in insulin like they should, your blood sugar level rises and you can develop type 2 diabetes.
Sleep apnea has also been associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of heart disease risk factors that include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol levels, high blood sugar levels, and a larger-than-normal waist circumference.
If you have sleep apnea, you’re more likely to have fatty liver disease, liver scarring, and higher-than-normal levels of liver enzymes.
Apnea can also worsen heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can interrupt your sleep even more.
Circulatory and cardiovascular systems
Sleep apnea has been linked to obesity and high blood pressure, which increase the strain on your heart. If you have apnea, you’re more likely to have an abnormal heart rhythm such as atrial fibrillation, which could increase your risk of a stroke. Heart failure is also more common in people with sleep apnea.
One type of sleep apnea, called central sleep apnea, is caused by a disruption in the brain’s signals that enable you to breathe. This type of sleep apnea can also cause neurological symptoms like numbness and tingling.
Sleep apnea can reduce your desire to have sex. In men, it could contribute to erectile dysfunction and affect your ability to have children.
Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- dry mouth or sore throat in the morning
- trouble paying attention
Sleep apnea can disrupt your nightly slumber and put you at risk of several serious diseases, but there are ways to control it. Treatments, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and oral appliances, help keep oxygen flowing into your lungs while you sleep. Losing weight can also improve sleep apnea symptoms while reducing your heart disease risk.
What is Dental Sleep Medicine?
Dental Sleep Medicine is an area of clinical expertise which focuses on the management of sleep related breathing disorders, including snoring, noisy disturbed sleep, sleep apnoea, CPAP intolerance and sleep bruxism (teeth grinding), with the design and fitting of customised oral / dental appliances.
What is Oral Appliance Therapy?
An oral appliance is a device worn in the mouth only during sleep. The device fits similar to a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer and prevents the airway from collapsing by either supporting the tongue or jaw in a forward position, thereby opening the airway.
With a custom fitted oral appliance, we can help minimise or eliminate the symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing. Sleep apnoea (in mild to moderate cases) including loud snoring, gasping and unpleasant noises.
The device can also act as an alternative treatment for patients (on medical advice only) who have been prescribed CPAP by their medical consultant, finding it difficult to adhere to this therapy for management of their sleep apnoea condition.
About Dental Sleep Medicine at The Beacon Dental Clinic
As director of the Beacon Dental Group Dr Edward G Owens is a hospital affiliated Prosthodontist. He has been working successfully with oral appliances to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea since 1997.
He collaborates with major hospital sleep disorder clinics and has been active in the management of oral sleep appliances and the development of Dental Sleep Medicine in Ireland.
To learn more about Sleep Apnoea Treatment, contact us today
Beacon Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic is based in the Beacon Dental Clinic, Beacon Consultants Clinic, Dublin, D18 E7P4, Ireland
Tel: +353 01 5310088| Fax: +353 1 213 5645 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org