Santa Cruz & Scotts Valley, CA
Are you one of the millions of Americans suffering from obstructive sleep apnea? If so, more than your sleep is at risk. Sleep apnea also works as a silent saboteur, deteriorating your physical and mental health as time passes. Let’s take a deeper look at how sleep apnea can affect your well-being.
Get the facts about sleep apnea
The literal meaning of the word apnea is “without breath.” A person with sleep apnea experiences blockages of their airway, which either make it more difficult to breathe or interrupt breathing altogether. Snoring, considered one of the major warning signs of this disorder, occurs when you attempt to force air past or around the obstruction. Meanwhile, your brain sends signals to the body that airflow has been cut off, waking your brain and disrupting the sleep cycle.
A person suffering from a severe, untreated case of sleep apnea may experience these blockages hundreds of times per hour!
The physical and mental health consequences of sleep apnea can be diverse, and serious
Nothing can spoil your day like a headache, but people living with sleep apnea may wake up with a headache on a frequent basis. In this case, headaches are caused by the combination of a lack of quality sleep and insufficient oxygen.
Ever have difficulty remembering things, even when you are sure you know them? This sort of cognitive fog can occur when you do not get enough quality sleep. It starts by flubbing your words but may include forgetting important information, scheduled appointments, previous conversations, or even why you walked into a room or drove somewhere.
Mood swings are common among individuals living with sleep apnea, especially severe cases of the disorder. You may find that even the smallest things irritate you—or even enrage you. Irritability and even depression are consequences of sleep apnea because the disorder deprives you of the restoration that occurs during the deepest stages of REM sleep, which also happen to be when your body produces the serotonin and neurotransmitters that help to regulate your mood and emotions.
Erectile dysfunction in men and diminished sex drive in women are two lesser-known, but quite common, symptoms of sleep apnea. Living with significant sleep loss also can make people unaware of their partner’s physical and emotional needs.
Especially common in advanced cases of sleep apnea, obesity and sleep apnea actually have a strong link between them. Having one of these conditions makes you predisposed to develop the other. And sleep apnea can fuel weight gain because sleep loss deprives you of some of the body’s natural processes that help to maintain weight—such as hormones, neurotransmitters, and keeping the adequate levels of oxygen in the body.
Sleep apnea dentistry in Scotts Valley
A sleep apnea dentist in the Los Gatos area like the ones on staff at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry can identify and treat cases of sleep apnea. First, Dr. Max Ebrahimian and Dr. Ariana Ebrahimian can conduct a sleep study, then review the results to determine if a sleep breathing disorder is present, and if so, to what degree. Next, sleep apnea is treated by addressing the root problem—whatever is creating the obstruction in the airway. Our treatment method is specific to the needs of each patient. If you think you may have sleep apnea, or that this disorder is affecting someone you love, call our office at (831) 438-4411 to schedule a consultation.
Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry serves the oral health needs of patients in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California.