Untreated sleep apnea is extremely dangerous for several reasons. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a treatable sleeping disorder. However, thousands of people go undiagnosed, untreated, or are non-compliant with their treatment plan.
Mark Levy DDS wants to help spread awareness about OSA in order to ensure people are getting the care that they need. He’s made it a lifelong mission to treat patients who suffer from this horrid sleeping disorder. OSA is much more common than we ever thought, but new treatment methods are now available.
People who suffer from OSA have either very shallow breathing or pauses in breathing off and on while they sleep. In severe cases someone with OSA may actually stop breathing several hundreds of times each night. This disruption in breathing comes with serious consequences. Your body suffers from a lack of adequate rest and oxygen. These two things affect every system in your body.
The medical community has researched and found that OSA is especially damaging to your heart. The pauses in breathing increase blood pressure as you sleep. This, combined with low oxygen levels, and the stress of waking frequently throughout the night, often leads to hypertension. People who suffer from OSA are several times more likely to suffer from a major heart attack. The disruption to oxygen flow also makes it more difficult for your brain to regulate your blood flow. This means you also increase your risk of suffering from stroke, atrial fibrillation, and other heart rhythm problems.
In addition to OSA causing complications with your brain in relation to blood flow, it also affects your brain in other ways. People who suffer from this condition regularly report major problems with daytime drowsiness. This is especially dangerous when driving or working in a position that demands your full attention. OSA has also been shown to impact memory, focus, and attention span. All of these things make you a danger to yourself and others. Not to mention the long term effects of decreased oxygen to the brain.
Untreated OSA can actually worsen due to the effects it has on your body. Many people know that people who are overweight are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea. However, what they don’t typically know is that their OSA is a major contributor to obesity. This is because the disorder affects the endocrine system. The endocrine system releases the hormone ghrelin. This hormone actually makes people crave sweets and carbohydrates. Also, around 80% of people who suffer from type-2 diabetes also have OSA. This is because the lack of sleep caused by OSA can result in insulin resistance, causing type-2 diabetes.
Reports have also shown a possible link between OSA and asthma as well as acid reflux. People who suffer from asthma and acid reflux often show improvement in these areas with sleep apnea treatment. Ongoing studies are constantly showing us more about how devastating OSA is on our entire body. It’s imperative that you seek out treatment if you’re diagnosed with the disorder.
The most common treatment option for OSA is using a CPAP machine. However, many people find these machines to be an uncomfortable hassle. This results in high rates of non-compliance. Many people don’t take their treatment seriously or find that the treatment is incompatible with their lifestyle or comfort levels. OSA treatment plans are only effective if they are followed. If the patient hates the treatment plan, the likelihood of them following it is very slim.
Thankfully, advances in the dental industry have provided us with a viable alternative to CPAP machines. Most sleep apnea patients fall into the mild to moderate category. However, it’s still vitally important that they treat their sleep disorder. But instead of dealing with a treatment option that isn’t working for them, they can turn to a dentist certified in treating OSA.
These certified dentists, such as Mark Levy DDS, help patients treat their OSA by using dental appliances. These dental appliances, sometimes referred to as oral appliances, are comfortable and easily portable. They’re similar in size and shape to a mouth guard that you commonly see in sports. The appliance helps support the soft tissues in the back of the mouth to help keep the airway open as you sleep.
OSA patients who follow through with treatment start to show improvement almost immediately. They quickly notice that they sleep better and are more alert, focused, and have improved memory. The other health issues begin to resolve with treatment as well. Blood pressure tends to normalize as the body is no longer struggling to breathe at night. Asthma and reflux symptoms tend to improve.
There’s really no reason to delay or avoid treating OSA. Untreated sleep apnea can have a devastating effect on your body. But modern treatment methods are easier to use than ever.