The Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea

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The Dangers of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Do you wake up feeling overly tired in the morning? Does your partner complain about your obnoxious snoring? Do you struggle with sluggishness or narcolepsy throughout the day? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is highly possible that you are battling sleep apnea. While some morning grogginess is normal, if you require multiple cups of coffee just to make it to lunch – only to start the caffeine intake all over again – that is cause for concern. Obstructive sleep apnea causes the tissues in the back of the throat to over relax and block your passageway, making it difficult for air to effectively pass. It can cause excessive snoring, sleepless nights, and even long pauses of breathing that last up to a few seconds or even several minutes multiple times a night. Sleep apnea affects over 20 million Americans and is a serious condition that should not be ignored.

Please read on to understand how untreated sleep apnea can negatively impact your health and why it should be treated immediately. If you are looking for a conservative approach to treating your sleep apnea, Grant Park dentist Dr. Abby Lee can fit you with a specialized oral device to help you achieve a better night’s sleep. To schedule your consultation, contact our Atlanta, GA practice online or call 404.328.7177.

Sleep Deprivation

Because your sleep is being interrupted, sometimes up to hundreds of times per night, you are not getting the proper amount of sleep you need. Lack of sleep can lead to chronic fatigue syndrome and the development of serious medical conditions. People who are sleep deprived also have a greater chance of being injured. Studies have shown that people with untreated or undiagnosed OSA are three times more likely to experience an injury on the job. Lack of sleep can also slow your reaction time when behind the wheel, placing you at greater risk of a car accident.

High Blood Pressure

Often called the “silent killer,” high blood pressure can both be the result of sleep apnea and the cause of sleep apnea. Your body needs adequate amounts of oxygen to function properly. People with sleep apnea are unable to breath continuously, preventing oxygen from traveling to the brain and other organs. High blood pressure can also lead to heart disease and stroke – two of the leading causes of death – making it an important issue to address.

Depression and Anxiety

According to a 2015 study, people with sleep apnea are more likely to struggle from depression than those without. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to the development of both depression and anxiety in patients. In addition to the lack of oxygen to your brain, sleepless nights can greatly affect your mood and mental wellbeing, resulting in difficulty concentrating, panic attacks, heightened levels of stress, moodiness, fatigue, and weight gain. People who already struggle from depression or anxiety notice exasperated symptoms due to a lack of sleep.

Diabetes

Continually struggling for air can lead to higher levels of inflammation and blood glucose levels, sending your body into fight-or-flight mode. Uncontrolled levels will eventually result in diabetes. If you are obese, you are at an even higher risk of developing diabetes.

Controlling Sleep Apnea

If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Lee can fit you with a customized oral device designed to maintain proper jaw position so that your tongue and the soft tissues in your throat do not block your passageway. Within just a few days of wearing your oral device you will notice improved sleep and a better quality of life.

Learn More

To learn more about treating obstructive sleep apnea, we invite you in to meet with Dr. Lee at our Atlanta, GA Grant Park office. Please call us today at 404.328.7177 or fill out our online form to book your appointment.

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