While we sometimes think we can, no human can survive without sleep. Our bodies demand adequate and quality sleep each day to function and remain healthy. Without sleep, our minds, energy and organs will begin to fail. But the question is, how well are you sleeping?
One of the most common and disruptive sleep conditions is obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea involves several pauses in breathing during the night due to obstructed airways. Patients may snore loudly or wake up several times a night gasping for air. The problem with sleep apnea, however, is that its consequences don’t stay in your bed. Untreated sleep apnea can produce serious daytime symptoms, ranging from fatigue and headaches to poor concentration and even heart problems. This sleep condition can even make you age faster!
According to a recent article in Everyday Health, “untreated obstructive sleep apnea and other sleep-disordered breathing problems may accelerate aging, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The data showed that the sleep-disordered breathing that occurs in OSA can cause early aging of your DNA cells. This supports the fact that every cell in our bodies needs proper sleep. When sleep cycles are chronically disrupted, the effects can be seen at a cellular level. Age-related diseases can become a greater risk if you have untreated sleep apnea, including dementia, cardiovascular disease, functional decline and even some cancers.
The good news is that the epigenetic changes (early aging) caused by obstructive sleep apnea can be reversed with treatment. This makes imperative that you address your sleep apnea symptoms sooner rather than later. You may only need a visit to the dentist in mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea.
Dr. Gilreath is an accredited member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. He works closely with many ENT and Pulmonology groups in the area when you are diagnosed with sleep apnea. For many people, a CPAP machine is very uncomfortable and disrupts their sleep. A dental sleep appliance can often be used even if you have been prescribed a CPAP machine. To learn more about how you can protect your health and longevity with a sleep apnea appliance from your dentist, call Gilreath Dental Associates today.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,