Sleep apnea has a significant impact on your overall health. When untreated, it can lead or contribute to a number of serious medical problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, liver problems, depression and more. If you experience any symptoms of sleep apnea, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with your physician or a sleep specialist. Our dentist will work with your physician and you to diagnose this condition and help you receive an appropriate treatment.
Some common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Regular and loud snoring
- Gasping or choking sounds during sleep
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Dry or sore throat in the morning
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, weight or race. However, there are some factors that may increase your risk of developing sleep apnea. These factors include:
- Being male — Men are twice as likely to develop sleep apnea as women.
- Age — Adults over the age of 40 are more likely to develop this condition.
- Weight — If you are overweight or obese, the excess weight around your neck or chin may obstruct breathing.
- Biological factors — A thicker neck or chin usually indicates a narrower airway, and enlarged tonsils or adenoids can reduce the amount of room in your throat for air to pass through. A smaller lower jaw can also increase your risk of sleep apnea.
- A family history of snoring and sleep apnea
- Smoking — Smoking causes inflammation and fluid retention in the airways, reducing your ability to breathe normally.
How Serious Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a significant problem for many people. Here are some statistics about OSA:
- OSA affects more than 2 million Americans with another 6 to 12 million remaining undiagnosed.
- People with untreated OSA are four times more likely to suffer a stroke.
- People with untreated OSA are three times more likely to develop heart disease.
- Approximately half of all individuals with high blood pressure have OSA.
- Risk of getting into a car accident is six times more likely in an individual with OSA.
- The significant others of people with OSA lose up to an hour of sleep per night due to being awakened by snoring, gasping and choking sounds from their bedmates.
- Approximately 38,000 deaths each year are attributed in some way to OSA.
The Effect of Sleep Apnea on Your Health
People who suffer from sleep apnea are at increased risk of developing or worsening a number of physical and psychological conditions. These conditions include but are not limited to:
- Problems with the central nervous system
- Problems with the immune system
- Problems with the digestive system
- Problems with hormone production
- Heart disease and a weakened cardiovascular system
- Increased blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Impaired memory and difficulty concentrating
- Anxiety and depression
- Increased risk of type 2 diabetes
- Poor balance
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
Insufficient sleep due to sleep apnea has been recognized as a global problem and a “public health epidemic” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A lack of sleep has been linked to auto accidents and occupational accidents. Perpetual tiredness makes it difficult to perform daily tasks, lowers productivity and impacts overall quality of life.
We invite you to call Advanced Sleep & TMJ Center of New Jersey at 877-652-7632 if you have any questions and to schedule your consultation with Dr. Christine Ally, our experienced sleep apnea dentist in Little Silver and Red Bank, New Jersey.