Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep-related breathing condition that is characterized through repeated episodes of nocturnal breathing due to the upper airway collapsing. The airway becomes narrow or blocked where breathing becomes difficult.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a condition that anybody can have. It is also a condition that is difficult to control because it occurs during sleep. If you’ve been identified as one who suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, then your overall wellbeing is in danger.
Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dangerous?
Yes, obstructive sleep apnea can become dangerous. Research has associated OSA condition with adverse health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, strokes, cardiovascular disease and dementia. The connection of OSA between these conditions stems from people that are obese or largely overweight. Obesity is the main culprit behind these conditions and is also attributed to obstructive sleep apnea.
Below breaks down how these health problems can become dangerous:
- Cardiovascular Disease – A fast and abnormal heartbeat or a stroke are common conditions that affect your heart. OSA disrupts the level of oxygen flow because the brain cannot control the blood flow in the arteries.
- Type 2 Diabetes – OSA is a common condition for diabetics and the condition promotes lower levels of glucose control. Alongside poor lifestyle habits and low physical activity, you’re likely to gain a severe amount of weight leading to a recurring collapse of the upper airway, obstructing breathing.
- High Blood Pressure – OSA can make high blood pressure levels higher through stress hormones exceeding high levels. Obstructive breathing also drops the level of oxygen, causing heavier breathing and snoring.
- Low Energy Levels and Stress – With low energy levels, you’re likely to feel stressed and lethargic during the day. Those with obstructive sleep apnea are more likely to fall asleep more times during the day owing to fatigue and low oxygen in the blood.
- Dry Mouth – Dry mouth occurs where there is low saliva production. With low saliva, you’re at risk of dry mouth, a symptom of tooth decay. Saliva acts as a tool to protect your mouth from harmful bacteria build-up. Read here to learn more about the process of tooth decay.
Treating Sleep Apnea
It is important that obstructive sleep apnea is treated for the benefit of your overall health. The condition can range from mild to severe, and the severity is typically measured by the number of breathing pauses you experience.
Treatment ultimately depends on its severity. If there are risks in contracting health conditions such as strokes and cardiovascular diseases, diagnosis is recommended.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be treated through the following methods:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – CPAP is a machine that requires you to wear a mask during sleep. This is designed to hold the airway open for smoother breathing and prevents the airway from collapsing. The machine pushes mild air pressure at a certain temperature through the nose and mouth. No matter the body position, you’re unlikely to experience disrupted sleep and neither will your breathing be disrupted.
- Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) – MAD devices help to pull the lower jaw forward slightly so the airway becomes wider and will help reduce obstructive sleep apnea to allow for smoother breathing. Another symptom of obstructive sleep apnea is teeth grinding, which would also be prevented.
Lifestyle Changes Also Impact…
Alongside diagnosis, obstructive sleep apnea can also be treated at home through lifestyle changes. Become more mobile by doing regular exercise. Exercise is essential for weight loss. What also helps is reducing the number of calories you consume. Your food intake is attributed to adverse health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease through high-levels of sugar and a lack of care of your body. A lack of lifestyle control will mean lack of sleep quality, poor health and exposure to dangerous diseases.
If you’re suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, contact our Chatswood dental team for advice or treatment. Check yourself in for an appointment today!