Recent studies show that there may be a connection between sleep apnea and men’s urological problems such as urinary tract and bladder problems, erectile dysfunction, infertility issues, and depression. It’s important that doctors and patients understand the possible correlation for prompt referral and treatment.
The study, published in Your Sexual Medicine Journal, included 124 patients who all visited a Men’s Health clinic in the US. These men all completed three urological questionnaires. Questions focused on if they had prostate issues or were suffering from erectile dysfunction and if either was age-related. The questionnaires also asked about each individual’s general heath, sleeping habits, sleepiness, insomnia, and sleep apnea.
Arman Walia of the University of California Irvine and his team evaluated the questionnaires along with each patient’s medical history and lab results. The average age of participants was 54 years. Overall, there did seem to be an association between urologic disease, sleep, and mood in participants. In fact, insomnia, depression, and sleep apnea were rather common in the older patients who were overweight. These issues were also patient among those with hypogonadism, which is a lack of or decreased testosterone production, a male hormone.
Nearly 75% of the participants were overweight. Almost a quarter suffered from hypertension. Fifteen percent suffered from heart problems. And around 13 percent of the participants were diabetic. Overall, two of every five men had depression to some degree or were suffering from prostate problems. About half of the patients suffered from sleep apnea or some degree of erectile issues. Around 80 percent of participants measured in with low levels of male sex hormones.
The research team evaluated all of the information from each participant very carefully. Knowing that sleep disorders can greatly impact other areas of the body, the results were no surprise. According to News Medical:
“When addressing the entirety of a patient’s disease burden, a practicing urologist should take into account these associations while evaluating a patient, particularly because non-urologic disease may negatively impact urologic disease,” says Walia.
“Urologists are not specifically trained in sleep medicine or how to manage depression, and therefore should have an appropriate threshold for referral,” he notes. “This underscores the importance of screening for conditions, thereby preventing patients from slipping through the cracks and being able to more accurately identify those in need of further intervention.”
While sleep disorders, namely sleep apnea, can have quite the impact on overall body function, there is good news. The sleeping disorder is treatable fairly simply and effectively. Once treatment begins, many patients see a noticeable improvement in their other conditions as well.
Sleep apnea treatment is effective, as long as the patient follows the treatment plan created with their doctor. The most common treatment option is the use of a continuous positive airway pressure system called a CPAP. This device is a mask which fits over the mouth and nose connected to a hose. The machine itself blows a steady stream of air through the mask to help prevent the airway from collapsing, the cause of the cessation of breathing in obstructive sleep apnea patients.
However, while the CPAP is certainly one of the most effective treatment options, it’s not the only one and may not even be the best option for each patient. Many patients have difficulties with CPAP devices. Either because they’re too bulky, too loud, or disturb their sleep or their partners. It’s also not uncommon to feel as though the mask itself or the sensation is uncomfortable. The CPAP treatment is only effective if people actually use it.
One rising star in the sleep apnea treatment community is the oral appliance. Custom made dental devices designed to support the soft palate are now a favorite among patients. This device is portable, quiet, and effective. Paving the way for sleep apnea treatment through dentistry is Mark Levy DDS. He has helped thousands upon thousands of individuals either directly or as a result of the training he’s provided across the country.
Sleep medicine dental experts like Mark Levy DDS are the only ones that can help create the device. If you or a loved one suffer from sleep apnea and have difficulties with CPAP therapy then consider this alternative.