Over 40 million Americans suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. 85% of those with OSA are undiagnosed.
State-of-the-art Technology has changed the way Sleep Apnea is diagnosed and treated!
Testing and diagnosis can now be completed inexpensively and in the comfort of your own home; and the vast majority of patients can be treated by your dentist with a comfortable oral appliance that keeps the airway open.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a chronic disorder, characterized by repetitive stops and starts in breathing during sleep. As muscles in the throat relax, a partial or complete blockage of the airway occurs, leading to symptoms such as snoring, gasping or choking.
The patient struggles to breathe, forcing them to awakeand take action to relieve the obstruction.
Breathing resumes, oxygen levels increase, carbon dioxide is reduced, and the patient resumes sleep.
This cycle can occur several dozen times per hour, which severely stresses the central nervous system resulting in damage to other body systems over time.
Normally, sleep is a time of relaxation with slower heart rate, lower metabolism and reduced nervous system activity. However, OSA counteracts this important rest, especially on the cardiovascular system. As a result, people with OSA can face a 70% higher risk of developing Coronary Heart Disease.
Repetitive Apnea episodes create stress on the body that increase blood pressure (hypertension), causing irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) and thickened heart walls, increasing the risk of Coronary Heart Disease and Heart Failure.
Some OSA sufferers also have a type of plaque that can narrow coronary arteries that are more vulnerable to rupturing and causing a blood clot, which can lead to a heart attack or other cardiovascular event.
Since OSA is easily identified and readily treatable, prompt therapy for sleep apnea could improve cardiovascular activity and outcomes by reducing system stress, blood pressure, arterial stiffness and improvement in the function of blood vessels to control blood clots
OSA creates an all-night intermittent shortage of oxygen (hypoxia). Sleep fragmentation is also created as the body fights for air (snoring) to trigger re-awakenings (gasping) that places stress on the entire physical system. Combined, these two aspects of OSA affect the processing (metabolism) of glucose that is a major source of energy for most cells of the body.
OSA ends up increasing the level of glucose in the bloodstream by impairing the body's use of insulin to maintain blood sugar levels. First, the cells in the body become resistant to insulin (Insulin Resistance) and the secretion of new insulin by the pancreas is reduced (Insulin Deficiency). The result is high blood sugar in the bloodstream (Hyperglycemia ) that the body cannot tolerate (Type-2 Diabetes).
OSA alone can create increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. When combined with Diabetes, they create a significant additive and synergistic negative Heart risk
Effective treatment of OSA may prevent the development of Type 2 Diabetes and its complications, or reduce its severity in existing Diabetic Patients. The connection between OSA and Type 2 Diabetes is so strong that, in 2008, the International Diabetes Federation recommended that healthcare professionals should adopt clinical practices to ensure that a person presenting with one condition is considered for the other.
Obesity, especially excess waist fat, is the most important risk factor for the development of OSA. There are several mechanisms responsible for the increased risk of OSA with Obesity, including reduced throat diameter due to fatty tissue within the airway and decreased upper airway strength due to fatty deposits in the muscle.
Research also indicates Obesity affects the body's metabolism; and excess adipose tissue (fat) produces excess cell-signaling proteins that interfere with the central-nervous system and disturb nerve control in the upper airway. It has also been shown that people with Sleep Apnea tend to eat more due to a reduced production of the hormones that trigger the feeling of being full
Accordingly, Obesity and OSA form a vicious cycle where each results in worsening of the other. Obesity can lead to OSA, which, itself, then causes disruptions of hormones that control eating habits, leading to more weight gain, increased blood pressure, glucose intolerance, and even worse OSA. The cycle repeats and becomes progressively more damaging
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) is one of the fastest-growing health conditions; and the Federal Government has identified Sleep Apnea as a major cause.
Even mild to moderate levels of OSA produce a substantial risk of Hypertension. The more severe the Sleep Apnea, the greater the risk of High Blood Pressure. Hypertension contributes to nearly half of all cardiovascular disease-related deaths, such as from Heart Attack or Stroke
OSA episodes elevate blood pressure throughout the night as the heart pumps harder to counter reduced blood oxygen and the build-up of carbon dioxide. Stress and inflammation caused by OSA also triggers hypertension through over activity of the nervous system and stiffening or constriction of the arteries
OSA Therapy not only treats the Sleep Apnea, but also results in lower blood pressure, even during the daytime. Seeking therapy and complying with OSA treatment is a proven means of decreasing blood pressure.
OSA has been shown to triple the risk of Stroke, and the risk of Stroke rises as the severity of Sleep Apnea increases. More than 15 million strokes occur worldwide every year, and that about a third are fatal. The Baylor College of Medicine found that after experiencing OSA for just 30 days, people could suffer a stroke.
OSA aggravates the cardiovascular system which can result in a blood clot in the heart (embolism) that can travel through the arteries to block blood flow in the brain.
Of increasing concern is the development of "silent strokes" that damage blood vessels in the brain, but do not immediately result in physical reactions. Accordingly, a person who suffers a Silent Stroke is unaware that they have even suffered a Stroke. However, damage to brain cells creates small lesions in the brain which shows up through imaging procedures like a CT scan or an MRI.
Treating OSA can reduce the potential for stroke; and people who have suffered an OSA-induced Silent Stroke can mitigate their increased risk of migraines, mood swings, memory loss or having a major Stroke in the future.
OSA can seriously damage your health due to many associated medical conditions that it either triggers, or makes worse.
These conditions include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.
Learn more by clicking on each disease.