Sleep apnea makes it impossible to progress naturally through each stage of sleep. Instead, a person with untreated OSA will wake slightly throughout their sleep sessions because airway obstruction causes breathing cessation (apnea). While they aren’t fully awake, it is enough to significantly disrupt their sleep cycles. The cycle of apnea followed by brief wakefulness can occur hundreds of times on a nightly basis.
Interrupted sleep can cause a host of quality of life issues and health problems. In addition to sleep deprivation, those with untreated OSA may struggle with:
Beyond the suffering that accompanies sleep deprivation, sleep apnea could increase your risk for heart disease, respiratory concerns, stroke, diabetes, and hormonal imbalances.
Some research has shown that erratic breathing caused by OSA could weaken the heart. Those with untreated sleep apnea tend to also have hypertension (high blood pressure) and high LDL cholesterol. Erratic and improper breathing could reduce blood oxygen levels, too. Researchers have found that sleep apnea tends to coincide with high blood sugar and insulin resistance, which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes. Lastly, poor quality of sleep will negatively affect your immune system.
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and avoiding sedatives/alcohol before bedtime can ease episodes of sleep apnea. Seeking professional treatment, however, is the best way to reclaim your ability to get the rest you deserve.
Our practice offers oral appliance therapy – an effective and comfortable alternative to CPAP treatment. Oral appliance therapy increases the diameter of the airway to prevent the obstructions that cause apnea. These appliances are worn inside the mouth like a retainer or mouthguard, which positions the jaw forward to expand the airway. This treatment option will not affect your movement during sleep or disturb your bed partner.
If you believe you might have sleep apnea, our practice can help. After a sleep study confirms a diagnosis, Dr. Gillum can consult with you to determine if oral appliance therapy meets your needs. Call our team at Indy Dental Sleep today to reserve a sleep apnea consultation.