People who have sleep apnea often aren’t aware of their condition until their partner points it out or they share a room with someone for an extended period. The condition is often associated with loud snoring at night, but it is more than just that. Sleep apnea can be identified through a pattern while the person is asleep.
First, the patient snores very loudly. Then it is followed by a brief period of silence which can last more than 10 seconds at a time, this is when they stop breathing. The silence is then followed by a loud gasp and then choking as the brain signals the body to breathe once more. This cycle will repeat all through the night, but the patient themselves often do not realize this is happening.
A sleep dentist will emphasize that it is important to get a diagnosis, followed by sleep apnea treatment. Why? These are some of the dire consequences a patient may experience due to undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea:
Poor Sleep Quality
It takes up to an hour for the body to reach the deep sleep stage where it is fully at rest. The sleep apnea cycle intervenes with the body’s ability to reach the full sleep cycle, resulting in almost zero hours of quality sleep. Despite seemingly sleeping 8 hours, a patient will still feel sluggish, lethargic, and sleep-deprived.
The longer the condition remains untreated, the less the brain and body can rest and recover at night, which will affect a person’s emotional, cognitive, and physical health.
Gives Rise To Metabolic Syndrome
It is during sleep where the brain and body can take all your energy into repairing itself for the next day. Sleep apnea deprives you of these benefits which will lead to a number of metabolic complications. Everything from high blood pressure, higher blood sugar levels, and abnormal cholesterol levels can all be serious side effects of untreated sleep apnea.
Greater Risk For Heart Disease
Another common side effect of sleep apnea that goes undiagnosed and untreated are heart diseases and stroke. The lack of proper and quality sleep rises a patient’s blood pressure which puts a lot of strain on the heart and the brain. Without intervention, the risk of developing heart diseases and stroke is heightened.
When the body and brain are deprived of oxygen, other body parts are also in danger. The optic nerves, in particular, suffer from intense nerve damage which leads to glaucoma, affecting the patient’s health and well being.
Pregnant women or women who are planning to get pregnant must get checked for sleep apnea. The condition can result in a long list of pregnancy complications that will harm you and put your baby at risk. Gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are just two of the possible health complications a pregnant woman can suffer due to untreated sleep apnea.
Seek Treatment Right Away
A sleep dentist can provide you with different dental sleep devices for sleep apnea treatment. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can sleep peacefully once more.
If you or your family member is suffering from sleep apnea, don’t ignore it! Consult a sleep dentist, get diagnosed and treated properly. Contact Riverside Dental today!