When you hear the term “sleep apnea,” you probably think of snoring. While loud snoring is a symptom of
obstructive sleep apnea, they are not the same condition. Regular snoring might disturb the person sharing a bed with a snorer, but the long term risks are less serious than sleep apnea, which causes chronic physical and mental exhaustion as well as dangerous drops in blood oxygen. Sleep apnea poses a serious threat to your overall health and is linked to several life-threatening conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Today we’re discussing a few problems that frequently affect people with sleep apnea as well as a few clinical treatment options that can control the disorder.
How Sleep Apnea Shortens Your Life
The two most common side effects of sleep apnea,chronic exhaustion
and low blood oxygen, are a formula for trouble and result in problems such as:
- Chronic fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
- Inability to think and concentrate on tasks throughout the day.
- Poor performance at work and school.
- An increased risk of causing a traffic accident.
- Inability to deal with stress in a constructive or appropriate manner.
- Trouble coping with emotions.
- Depression and anxiety.
- An increased risk of cardiovascular disorders such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes.
- An increased risk of developing diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes.
In short, simple snoring is an annoyance, while obstructive sleep apnea has a profoundly negative impact on your general health and quality of life.
Innovative Treatments for Better Sleep
A decade ago, CPAP therapy and surgical intervention were the two most common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. While these options are still sometimes prescribed for some patients, many more sleep apnea sufferers opt for oral appliances to treat the disorder. Also known as a mandibular repositioning device (MRD), oral appliance therapy is an innovative method for treating mild to moderate sleep apnea. Made of hard acrylic, the appliance has two parts that fit snugly over your top and bottom teeth. The device repositions the lower jaw so that it protrudes slightly and prevents the airway from closing during sleep.
Patients who have a difficult time complying with CPAP machines or who do not think they would be able to sleep comfortably with a CPAP mask generally are very receptive to using oral appliance therapy. Since the success of your sleep apnea treatment depends heavily on your willingness to comply with treatment, it makes sense to choose an option which feels less bulky and invasive.
About Dr. Marco Cueva
Marco Cueva, DDS, MS is a board-certified periodontist with extensive training and experience providing a full range of advanced dental care services, including advanced treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. New patients can schedule an appointment or consultation with Periodontic Excellence at our Allen, TX dental office by calling 972-390-9944.