Sleep Apnea: Risks and Dangers

Having someone tell us we need a certain amount of sleep at night and actually getting that amount are two completely different things. Sure, going to bed early with the good intention of waking up the next morning refreshed with a song in your head and a spring in your step sounds nice. Who wouldn’t want that? However, the reality might be more like dragging your feet to the coffee pot, trying to keep your eyes open long enough so you don’t spill, and trying to remember where the shower is.

Lack of sleep can be like this. But is it because you were awake all night long, or is it because you’d fall asleep then wake up every ten minutes struggling to breathe? If it is the second scenario, you may want to find a sleep apnea dentist to see if you have obstructive sleep apnea. For one, you may find a treatment that helps, and two, sleep apnea has certain dangers that can literally kill you.

It’s the REM sleep that refreshes our bodies and may take up a quarter of our sleep. And, though the reasons for REM sleep are not completely understood, those who go without usually awake feeling miserable. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it is estimated that you lose one hour of sleep. Since most Americans are running on five to six hours of sleep a night, OSA sufferers are most likely getting four to five hours of sleep. We all know that lack of sleep can affect our daily lives, and there are several accidents reported every year because someone was asleep at the wheel. We also know that falling asleep at work is frowned upon. However, besides lack of concentration and alertness, fatigue and general daytime sleepiness, there are other health risks involved with OSA.

Some of the risks and dangers of OSA include:

• Arrhythmia

• Depression

• Diabetes

• Fibromyalgia

• Gastric reflux

• Heart attack

• High blood pressure

• Hypertension

• Impotence

• Insomnia

• Memory impairment

• Mood swings

• Stroke

As you can see from this list, there are several medical problems that are life threatening. Through treatment for OSA, you may find that you actually feel rested when you awake.

If you suffer from daytime fatigue you believe may be due to OSA, please contact a sleep apnea dentist for an initial treatment evaluation.

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