Do You Know The Risks Of Your Sleep Apnea?

  • January 6, 2016

We could lie to you and say that sleep apnea is no big deal, but that wouldn’t be fair to you or to your loved ones. People with sleep apnea should be taking steps to treat their condition, if not for themselves, then for their families.

Research has shown that about 40 percent of people who are prescribed a CPAP machine (the most common treatment for sleep apnea) do not use it. This would be like having medicine for high blood pressure in your cabinet but never taking it. If you don’t use it, it doesn’t help.

The reasons people don’t use their CPAPs vary from mask discomfort to headaches to complaints about the tubing interfering with their ability to fall asleep. At Beaumont Family Dentistry, we have an alternative solution. Just stop in one of our three Lexington-area offices to learn how we may be able to help.

For now, take some time to learn why letting your sleep apnea go untreated may be a bigger problem than your realize.

Sleep Apnea and Heart Disease

Harvard Medical School has reported on the increased risk of heart disease that has been associated with untreated sleep apnea.

In a study published in 2005, researchers followed 1,500 men in Spain who had been diagnosed with sleep apnea. All of them were offered CPAP machines, although not all of them used their machines.

After 10 years of study, the researchers noted that 14 percent of the men experienced a heart attack or stroke, needed some type of bypass procedure, or died due to cardiovascular disease.

They also learned that these men were three times more likely to have those problems if they did nothing to treat their sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea And Automotive Accidents

Another common symptom of sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness. If you aren’t getting good, quality sleep because of your apnea, then you may be suffering from sleep deprivation, too.

This can lead to a general feeling of sleepiness throughout the day. If this happens at your desk, your coworkers may get a laugh about it. If this happens behind the steering wheel, it’s no laughing matter.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine noted that people with sleep apnea are 2.5 times more likely to be the driver who causes an automobile accidents than other drivers.

Treating sleep apnea for at least four hours per night makes a tremendous difference, however. The researchers noted that sleep apnea patients who met this four-hour threshold reduced their risk of causing an accident by 70 percent.

Sleep Apnea And Your Loved Ones

Of course, sleep apnea isn’t one of those problems that only affects you. If you have obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type of the apnea), then you probably snore … a lot.

And this isn’t a cute, little snore. This is a loud persistent snore.

The loudest snore ever recorded was 90 decibels, although most snoring is between 60 and 80 decibels. Let’s put those numbers in context. A vacuum cleaner is around 70 decibels. An alarm clock is around 80 decibels.

Now, imagine trying to fall and stay asleep with someone turning a vacuum cleaner on and off every few minutes just a few feet away from you. How well do you think you would sleep if your alarm was going off multiple times every hour?

That’s exactly what your spouse is dealing with every night if you aren’t doing anything to treat your sleep apnea.

A Treatment Option At Your Dentist

If you are have been diagnosed with sleep apnea recently, your doctor may have recommended that you use a CPAP. If you find you are one of the 40 percent who can’t or won’t use the machine, Beaumont Family Dentistry can help.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs because your airways become closed off when you are asleep.

For patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, we can create a mouthpiece that you can wear instead of your CPAP. This mouthpiece works by repositioning your jaw so that your airways stay open while you sleep.

You should know that Dr. Takacs is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. She also completed a residency at Tufts University on sleep medicine.

If you come to Beaumont Family Dentistry, you will be coming to an office that wants to help you (and your partner) sleep better, and you will be treated by people who understand how to treat your problem.

To learn more, call any of our dentist offices in Lexington or make an appointment online.

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