If you’ve been putting off sleep apnea treatment because you don’t like the idea of using CPAP, you’re putting your health in significant danger. What you probably also don’t know is that CPAP isn’t the only treatment for sleep apnea. At StarImage Dental Boutique & Oral Surgery, we offer a CPAP alternative—oral appliances.
Oral appliances are just as effective and they can help you avoid the hidden dangers of untreated sleep apnea.
1. High Blood Pressure
One of the top hidden dangers of untreated sleep apnea is high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure already, sleep apnea can make it significantly worse. The reason sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure has a lot to do with your body waking up repeatedly throughout the night. The constant waking up causes your body to become stressed out and can put your hormones into overdrive which ultimately leads to increased blood pressure levels. Treating sleep apnea can help reduce your blood pressure and for some, get off blood pressure meds for good.
2. Type 2 Diabetes
Another hidden danger of untreated sleep apnea is type 2 diabetes. 80% of people with type 2 diabetes also have sleep apnea. So, what’s the correlation between the two? Obesity. Not only does obesity raise the risk for type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea, but it’s also a result of untreated sleep apnea. When you don’t sleep enough, it can interfere with your body’s ability to use insulin properly which can promote type 2 diabetes. Treating your sleep apnea in addition to eating healthier and exercising more can help reverse type 2 diabetes.
3. Weight Gain
When you don’t get a good night of sleep, usually you don’t want to hit the gym or go for a run. If anything, you want to spend the whole day in bed. Not only does sleep apnea take away the energy you need to exercise, but it also affects your hunger hormones. Sleep apnea can cause your body to release extra ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates your appetite (particularly for sweets and carbs), and it decreases your production of leptin, which is the hormone that tells you when you’re full. As a result, you will start eating more carbs and sweets, and not know when you’re actually full. The excess caloric intake combined with lack of exercise will cause weight to start creeping up.
4. Heart Disease
Those with sleep apnea have a higher risk of heart attacks and other heart-related conditions such as atrial fibrillation and stroke. With untreated sleep apnea, the risk increases even higher. Those with sleep apnea experience these increased risks because sleep apnea affects how your body consumes oxygen. The brain isn’t able to control how much blood flows to the arteries and to the brain. Without this control, heart problems are more likely.
5. Adult Asthma
Although there isn’t a proven link between sleep apnea and asthma, those with asthma tend to experience more asthma attacks if their sleep apnea goes untreated. With that said, if you have asthma, it’s crucial to use treatment consistently.
6. Acid Reflux
If you suffer from acid reflux, treating your sleep apnea can help reduce acid reflux symptoms. Additionally, treating acid reflux may also improve your sleep apnea symptoms. It’s still unknown how the two conditions are linked, though.
7. Daytime Sleepiness
With sleep apnea, your body will wake up to catch your breath hundreds of times per night. This prevents you from getting the deep, restorative sleep you need to feel energized during the day. One of the most annoying side effects of untreated sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness. Fatigue can make simple tasks feel exhausting. Once you get treatment though, your daytime sleepiness will subside and you will begin to feel energized during the day again!
8. Metabolic Syndrome
To qualify as metabolic syndrome, those with untreated sleep apnea tend to experience at least three of the following conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Too much fat around the waist
- Low HDL cholesterol
- High blood sugar
- High triglycerides
Living with metabolic syndrome also increases your chance of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. You can reverse metabolic syndrome with sleep apnea treatment and lifestyle changes like improved diet and more exercise.
9. Memory Loss
With a lack of sleep, it’s common to experience mild cognitive impairment. You might have difficulty remembering things because your brain isn’t getting enough rest at night. Your memory will improve once you start using sleep apnea treatment consistently.
10. Car Accidents
When you’re dozing off throughout the day and finding it difficult to concentrate, it’s common to doze off at the wheel and get into a car accident. This is incredibly dangerous because you don’t just put your own life at risk, but others as well. Once you’re using a sleep apnea treatment, you will get the proper restorative sleep that won’t make you feel like you can fall asleep at any time during the day.
Those who experience sleep deprivation are more likely to have depression. Coincidentally, depression can make getting a good night of sleep even more difficult. If you’ve felt depressed and know you have sleep apnea, sleep apnea treatment alongside depression medication can help you get back to feeling like yourself again. Over time, you might not need your depression medication anymore.
Get Sleep Apnea Treatment in Southlake, TX
Don’t feel afraid of all these dangers of untreated sleep apnea. They’re nothing to worry about as long as you get sleep apnea treatment and use it consistently. Our Southlake sleep dentists are here to help you find the right oral appliance for your needs. Contact our dental office at (817) 587-4566 today to book an appointment.