How Sleep Apnea Affects your Health

Categories: Sleep Disorders

why sleep apnea makes you feel sickSANTA CRUZ, SCOTTS VALLEY CA

Life expectancy in the United States is not what it was prior to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is back on the upswing: at 77.5 years, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genetics is a factor in your lifespan but so is taking care of yourself. That means eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, avoiding bad habits … and getting enough sleep. However, if you are one of the millions of Americans living with obstructive sleep apnea, you are living with sleep loss. Today on the blog, your sleep apnea dentists in Scotts Valley explain how sleep apnea negatively affects your health.

Living with sleep apnea means living with sleep loss

The estimate of the number of Americans with sleep apnea varies. The American Medical Association says that this sleep breathing disorder affects about 30 million adults in this country; some organizations estimate the disorder impacts more people, some less. When you suffer from sleep apnea, you have a blockage in your airway that may be partial or complete. Most people with sleep apnea see their breathing stop completely; these pauses may last a few seconds or continue for minutes at a time. No matter how long the pause in breathing may be, your brain reacts the same way, sending signals to the body to resume normal airflow.

Someone with sleep apnea may never consciously wake up during one of these blockages, but each of them disrupts the sleep cycle, depriving a sleep apnea patient of the physical and mental restoration that occur during the deepest stages of the sleep cycle. Now, consider that for someone with a severe and untreated case of sleep apnea, these blockages may occur hundreds of times per night.

The effects of living with sleep loss

Everyone experiences a sleepless night from time to time. However, if you regularly fail to get enough sleep or have poor-quality sleep, this affects you both physically and mentally.

Some of the ramifications of living with sleep loss include:

  • Unexplained irritability or mood swings
  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering
  • Lapses in judgment
  • Unable to fully enjoy activities
  • Lower sex drive
  • Obesity

Over time, the issues associated with sleep loss magnify, creating new problems.

These may include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cognitive decline
  • Impotence
  • Depression
  • An overall downturn in your physical health

Living with untreated sleep apnea elevates your susceptibility to a host of chronic, potentially fatal ailments, such as cardiac disease, stroke, diabetes and even certain forms of cancer. Researchers in Wisconsin found that cancer patients with a severe sleep breathing disorder had a mortality rate that was five times higher.

Treating sleep apnea in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz and Scotts Valley in California

At Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry, Dr. Max and Dr. Ariana Ebrahimian are experienced in the specialty of sleep apnea dentistry. This field focuses on airway management and treats sleep apnea by addressing whatever is causing the blockage of the airway. We prefer treatment through a course of oral appliance therapy. This entails wearing a custom-made mouthpiece that guides the lower jaw forward and helps maintain an open airway throughout the night. To learn more about how we treat sleep apnea, schedule a consultation today by calling (831) 838-4411 or contact us online.