The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Starting the day after a good night’s sleep is invigorating. Not only do you wake up feeling energized and ready to tackle your day, but there also seems to be a mental boost in energy, making you feel like anything is possible.

Unfortunately, far too many of us wake up with the exact opposite experience. About one-third of all Americans say they don’t get enough sleep. Almost everyone will battle through a sleepless night here and there. Stress is sometimes the culprit, or perhaps you’ve welcomed a new baby or are experiencing a life change that affects your sleep pattern.

And then there’s snoring.

Did you know that about 90 million people in the United States suffer from snoring? While snoring in and of itself is disruptive for both the snorer and anyone within earshot, the larger issue is that snoring can be the symptom of a more serious medical condition called sleep apnea. In this blog, our own Dr. Marcano explains the dangers of sleep apnea and how it’s more than a few sleepless nights.

What is sleep apnea?

Let’s start this discussion with a primer on sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep disorder where breathing is interrupted. There are two basic types of sleep apnea – obstructive sleep apnea or OSA and central sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea is the rarer of the two and is all about the central nervous system. With this condition, the brain fails to tell the chest muscles to go in and out to breathe. Adversely, in the case of OSA, it’s not a brain malfunction. Instead, the disruptions of sleep are due to partial or complete blockages to the upper airway.

What happens when sleep apnea interrupts breathing

Although for many people suffering from sleep apnea, the snoring and the gasping, snorting or body jerks when breathing resumes are the obvious impacts, it’s so much more than that.

When you stop breathing due to sleep apnea, your blood oxygen levels drop suddenly. At the same time, your chest muscles need to work harder to open the airway. Together these reactions create a perfect storm for your cardiovascular system, putting you at a higher risk for developing serious medical conditions like high blood pressure, a stroke, or heart attack.

Impacts metabolic conditions like diabetes

The results of repeated drops in blood oxygen levels don’t stop there. While blood oxygen levels drop, carbon dioxide levels increase in your bloodstream, which may impact blood glucose metabolism, specifically insulin resistance or the ability of your body to effectively use insulin. This scenario can put you at a higher risk of developing diabetes, or if you already have it, sleep apnea can make it more difficult to control diabetes. 

Laser dentistry can treat OSA

Treatment for sleep apnea can take many forms, including the using an oral appliance called a CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure device. At Orlando Center For Cosmetic Dentistry, we offer our patients an in-office treatment option using laser dentistry.

Laser dentistry is an excellent tool for a variety of conditions. It harnesses the benefits of using a laser as a cutting tool instead of a traditional scalpel for many situations, making treatment minimally invasive. In the case of treating obstructive sleep apnea, the ultimate goal is to increase passage to the airway by reducing or eliminating the obstruction.

Using laser dentistry allows us to open the airway while producing less bleeding and lowering the lower risk of infection. Since it’s a less invasive procedure, the recovery time is quicker. No more sleepless nights or waking up gasping for air and a quicker recovery time? It’s a win-win.

If you snore and think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, contact Orlando Center For Cosmetic Dentistry for a consultation. Schedule your appointment by clicking the online booking tool or calling the office today at 407-270-1053. 

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