What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that prevents the brain and body from getting the oxygen it needs during the night. The most common form is known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Individuals who suffer from OSA experience airway blockage due to the soft tissues near the back of the mouth or throat collapsing while they sleep. A blocked airway usually causes loud snoring and even stops a person from breathing, which triggers the brain to force the body to wake so they can get the oxygen they need. People with OSA can experience dozens or even hundreds of these interruptions each night.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Risk factors that contribute to sleep apnea include:

  • Obesity
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Smoking
  • Frequent alcohol consumption
  • Diabetes
  • Age
  • Gender (men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea than women)

What Are the Health Risks Associated with Sleep Apnea?

While sleep apnea may sound more inconvenient than dangerous, it can actually have very serious health consequences if left untreated. Indeed, sleep apnea has been linked with all of the following:

  • Heart disease – According to the Harvard Health Letter, untreated sleep apnea may increase the risk of dying from heart disease by five times.
  • High blood pressure – Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels due to sleep apnea increase the risk of high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
  • Type 2 Diabetes – Sleep apnea can promote insulin resistance, which is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.
  • Automobile accidents – Sleep deprivation often leads to drowsy driving, which can dramatically increase the risk of a dangerous automobile accident.

How to Treat Sleep Apnea in Windermere

Oral appliance therapy is a nonintrusive treatment that can reduce or eliminate symptoms of sleep apnea. An oral appliance is a small, durable mouthpiece worn at night that makes slight changes to a person’s jaw position to maintain an unobstructed airflow. When worn consistently, an oral appliance from a dentist in Windermere can dramatically improve a person’s quality of sleep and reduce the health risks linked to sleep apnea.

Don’t let sleep apnea damage your daily quality of life and put your health at risk. Ask your dentist today about whether oral appliance therapy is right for you.

About the Author

Dr. Matthew McKissock has extensive training and experience helping patients overcome sleep apnea in Windermere. A proud graduate of the University of Florida College of Dentistry, Dr. McKissock provides custom oral appliances at his private practice to dramatically improve symptoms of sleep apnea. To learn more about how Dr. McKissock can enable you to get a good night’s sleep, visit the Windermere Dentistry website or call 407-909-1099.

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