It’s Not Just Snoring: The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

It’s Not Just Snoring: The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Is snoring affecting your sleep? It may be from sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder that can lead to other serious health problems.

Sleep apnea stops your breathing during sleep. When this happens, your brain wakes you up to open your airways. It happens so fast that you may not even know you woke up.

This impacts your quality of sleep, and long-term sleep loss puts you at a higher risk for many health problems.

Causes of sleep apnea

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

1) Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form. The muscles in the back of your throat relax and close your airway. Your oxygen levels drop, and your brain wakes you to reopen your airway.

2) Central sleep apnea

Central sleep apnea happens when your brain doesn’t signal your breathing muscles.

Several risk factors can cause sleep apnea, such as:

  • Obesity or being overweight
  • Substance abuse (alcohol, sedatives, or narcotics)
  • Smoking
  • Being male
  • Aging
  • Stroke or heart disease

You can prevent obstructive sleep apnea with lifestyle choices, like exercising more. But since central sleep apnea happens from improper brain signals, it can’t be prevented.

Why sleep apnea is dangerous

A bad night’s sleep isn’t the only cause for concern with sleep apnea. It can lead to serious health problems that coexist.

Weight gain

One of the core problems of sleep apnea is gaining weight. Why? Because weight gain leads to many health issues. It increases your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Sleep loss and weight gain make it hard for your body to burn fat, too.

High blood pressure

Your blood oxygen levels drop when you have sleep apnea. This strains your cardiovascular system and raises your blood pressure. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke and heart disease.

Heart disease and stroke

The connection between sleep apnea and heart disease is well-known. Sleep apnea can lead to more weight gain and cause high blood pressure. Both of these factors make heart disease more likely.

High blood pressure also causes strokes. When a stroke occurs, it can affect your lower brain and cause central sleep apnea.

Type 2 diabetes

Eighty percent of patients with type 2 diabetes also have sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation interferes with how your body uses glucose. This increases your risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Treating sleep apnea

Each potential danger of sleep apnea can make other risk factors worse. Getting treatment early can improve your health and sleep.

Our experts at Dental Co. of Leesburg can treat your sleep apnea with a custom-made oral appliance. It’s made from impressions and X-rays of your mouth, so it fits comfortably and helps you breathe while sleeping.

Want to learn more about our sleep apnea treatment options? Book your appointment online, or call our dental office located in Leesburg, Virginia.

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