Snoring can make for a bad night’s sleep, for you and your bed mate. But if it happens because you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it may be the signal of a bigger problem. Sleep apnea is the involuntary cessation of breathing while you are asleep. There is increasing evidence that untreated obstructive sleep apnea can have a significant effect on your personal health. The condition raises your risk of health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
Let’s talk about the most prevalent health risks of untreated sleep apnea.
High Blood Pressure
Untreated sleep apnea is connected to high blood pressure. If you already have it, sleep apnea can make it worse. Sleep apnea can also make it harder to treat blood pressure with medication. When you wake up often during the night, your body becomes stressed. That makes your hormone systems go into overdrive which ups your blood pressure.
People with OSA are more likely to have heart disease. The causes may be low oxygen and the stress of waking up often during the night. Strokes and atrial fibrillation are also connected to OSA.
Type 2 Diabetes
Sleep apnea is common among men and women with type 2 diabetes. Research indicates that blood sugar levels are higher among individuals with OSA. Obesity raises the risk for OSA and Type 2 diabetes. However, treatment for OSA can decrease blood sugar levels.
Because OSA is connected to many chronic health issues, untreated OSA can result in premature death. In a recent study, it was found that men and women with severe OSA have a much higher mortality risk than those without OSA.
Dental Treatment Option
The health risks of untreated OSA may seem daunting. However, your dentist can often help treat your OSA. Oral appliance therapy can be a beneficial treatment for OSA. Oral appliance therapy uses a custom-fit, “mouthguard-like” device worn only during sleep. Oral appliance therapy helps maintain an open, unobstructed airway.