Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2022 at 4:28 am
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes a patient to stop breathing while they sleep. Pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Snoring is a common symptom associated with sleep apnea. Many patients living with sleep apnea experience feelings of tiredness during the day due to disruptions in their sleep. However, other long-term health issues can arise in patients who fail to treat their sleep apnea, from heart disease to diabetes.
Let’s look at some severe health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea and how using an oral appliance can help mitigate those risks.
Potential Health Risks Caused by Sleep Apnea
A broad range of health issues have been linked back to sleep apnea. Some of the most common include:
- Heart problems – Sleep apnea can increase your blood pressure, leading to heart problems like arrhythmia and heart failure. Sleep apnea was attributed to Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher’s cause of death after she suffered a heart attack in late 2016.
- Liver problems – Patients with untreated sleep apnea may experience liver problems like scarring, abnormal levels of liver enzymes, and fatty liver disease.
- Gastrointestinal issues – Patients living with sleep apnea are more likely to experience heartburn and symptoms of GERD (acid reflux), which can also disrupt sleep.
- Asthma – Sleep apnea can make asthma worse and cause other breathing problems. You may feel out of breath or fatigued after completing a strenuous activity such as exercising.
- Diabetes – People with sleep apnea sometimes develop insulin resistance, leading to Type 2 diabetes.
- Psychological issues – Sleep disruptions caused by sleep apnea can lead to mental fogginess and memory loss.
- Lowered libido – Long-term untreated sleep apnea can contribute to erectile dysfunction and decrease sexual desire.
- Weakened immune system – Failing to regularly get a good night’s sleep due to sleep apnea can lead to a weakened immune system, which can leave you vulnerable to other illnesses and conditions.
Other potential long-term health complications associated with failing to treat sleep apnea include obesity, metabolic syndrome, higher cholesterol levels, headaches, irritability, stroke, and even death.
How Using an Oral Appliance Can Help
Some sleep apnea patients turn to CPAP machines to help them breathe at night. However, these machines are loud, bulky, uncomfortable, and require electricity to work. There are also health risks resulting from improper maintenance of CPAP devices, which have to be regularly cleaned. And in 2021, the FDA recalled millions of CPAP devices manufactured by Philips Respironics due to carcinogenic chemicals found in the device’s sound abatement foam, which can break down over time.
At Silent Night Therapy, we offer an alternative, non-invasive solution: oral appliance therapy. Our custom-fit oral appliances gently guide the jaw forward to prevent obstructions in your airway. They are as effective at treating sleep apnea as any CPAP machine, but without the noise, inconvenience, and health hazards associated with those devices.
Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? If so, contact Silent Night Therapy on Long Island to schedule a consultation with Dr. Clifford Brown. Dr. Brown has extensive experience helping patients treat their sleep apnea through oral appliances, and was one of the first sleep practitioners on Long Island to provide this affordable alternative solution. Call us by phone at (631) 983-2463 or reach out to us online.