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Can Sleep Apnea Affect My Life Expectancy?

October 5, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — tntadmin @ 7:23 pm
a person snoring while asleep in a bed

Every night, sleep apnea disturbs the sleep of numerous patients all around the world—but did you know that it affects more than just sleep? Believe it or not, it can cause a patient all sorts of grief! Continue reading below to learn more from your trusted sleep dentist about sleep apnea and how if left untreated, it can lead to some pretty serious health issues that affect far more than your ability to get a good night’s sleep.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder that affects millions of patients, and the most prevalent type of the condition is called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It occurs when the soft tissues in the airway collapse and prevent proper airflow while one’s sleeping, which causes the brain to exit deep sleep and forcibly wake up in order to restore breathing patterns. These episodes can occur hundreds of times in one night, leading to severely compounded sleep loss and a plethora of problems including daytime exhaustion and fatigue, low energy, lack of motivation, impaired motor function, and more.

Can Sleep Apnea Impact My Life Expectancy?

It’s reasonable to assume that a condition named “sleep apnea” would only affect one’s ability to sleep—but this could not be further from the truth!  Some pretty serious conditions can arise if things are left untreated, including issues like diabetes, heightened blood pressure (hypertension), liver complications, metabolic symptoms, heart disease, obesity, and more. Needless to say, all of these have the potential to threaten a patient’s life expectancy.  

How Can Sleep Apnea Treatment Help?

What’s truly alarming about sleep apnea is that while millions of people are affected by it, millions more don’t even realize their sleep is being impacted by the condition! While snoring is one of the most obvious signs, it can remain undetected for quite some time. This is why it’s crucial to seek professional treatment if you believe you’re suffering from sleep apnea—and these treatment options are proven to be quite effective at both assisting with the condition and in turn, mitigating the potential of systematic health issues.

A recent study shows that CPAP machine therapy, one of the most utilized means for treating sleep apnea, brings longer life for those who suffer from chronic sleep apnea. The study shows the benefits of CPAP therapy were tied to an impressive 62% decline in the odds of death (over an 11-year-long follow-up period).  These benefits are held even after factoring in things like diabetes, weight loss, heart disease, and hypertension. Oral appliance therapy is also useful; these devices can keep the jaw in an open position that’s suited for proper airflow.

It’s also worth noting that lifestyle factors play a role in sleep apnea. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, avoiding alcohol and tobacco before bedtime, and establishing good sleeping habits are all instrumental in managing the condition and in turn, ensuring that it’s not triggering any life-threatening maladies!

About the Author

Dr. Bernard Greenbaum received his DDS from the Georgetown University School of Dentistry and has proudly served patients and families in the Bethesda, MD community for several years! His practice is thrilled to offer a wide range of sleep apnea treatment options for patients struggling to get consistently good sleep. If you have any questions about the blog or you’d like to set up an appointment for you or someone you know, feel free to contact Dr. Greenbaum’s team online or over the phone for additional information or assistance. Telephone: (301) 530-3600.

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