Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder when your airways become partially or fully blocked during sleep, causing breathing pauses and preventing restorative rest. Without treatment, sleep apnea can decrease life expectancy by several years and lead to chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension, and other health problems that can be life-threatening. So the short answer is that yes, sleep apnea can be life-threatening.
When you have sleep apnea, your breathing pauses or becomes very shallow. This can happen dozens or even hundreds of times a night, preventing you from getting restful sleep. The constant disruption to your bedtime can leave you exhausted during the day and strain your heart and other organs.
Sleep apnea is more than just snoring. It’s a condition that can have deadly consequences if left untreated. If you think you or someone you know might have sleep apnea, it’s important to see a doctor or a sleep apnea dentist for diagnosis and treatment.
Take our self-assessment tool to find out if you are at risk.
The idea of choking in your sleep may sound like a nightmare, but it can be a tragic reality for those with sleep apnea. Oxygen levels drop when the airway is blocked during sleep, and breathing can stop completely.
This is known as “hypoxemia,” which can lead to severe brain damage or even death. Hypoxemia occurs in other instances where the airway is blocked, such as during a heart attack or when someone drowns. But in sleep apnea, choking happens throughout the night. The constant cycles of hypoxemia can damage the brain and other organs.
Driving tired can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, but unfortunately, many people do not realize the risks of drowsy driving. People with sleep apnea face an even greater danger, as their interrupted sleep leaves them constantly exhausted and prone to falling asleep behind the wheel.
Sadly, these individuals are five times more likely to cause a car accident than someone without sleep apnea. This startling statistic highlights the importance of seeking treatment – not only for the individual’s well-being but also for the safety of others on the road. The consequences of drowsy driving are too severe to ignore, and addressing sleep apnea can significantly reduce this risk. Ultimately, it can save lives on the road.
While sleep apnea may seem like a nuisance for some, its effects can be much more far-reaching and severe than most people realize. One of the most serious consequences of sleep apnea is systematic inflammation. When you don’t get enough rest, your body’s inflammatory response kicks into high gear. Inflammation can lead to various chronic health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer. In fact, sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk of death from all causes.
Stroke is one of the most serious health complications associated with sleep apnea because your blood pressure rises during apnea episodes (when breathing stops). These episodes put extra strain on your heart and can cause long-term damage. In addition, sleep apnea promotes the formation of clots, which can lead to stroke. Studies have shown that individuals with sleep apnea are more likely to have a stroke than those without the condition.
While the short-term effects of sleep apnea can be dangerous, the long-term consequences are even more severe. Sleep apnea decreases life expectancy by several years and is linked to chronic diseases.
In addition, sleep apnea is associated with cognitive and mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and reduced sex drive. And because sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed, many people are unaware of the risks they face.
Fortunately, sleep apnea is a treatable condition. Several options are available, and the best course of action depends on the individual’s needs. Common treatments include lifestyle changes, such as losing weight and quitting smoking. Other options include mouthpieces, nasal devices, and CPAP machines. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.
Many people may not be aware, but certain dentists, such as our own Dr. Richard Chang, are trained and specialized in the field of sleep apnea. These dentists can help address your concerns and help devise a treatment plan suited to your specific needs.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, we encourage you to make an appointment with our office. We will work with you to find the best possible treatment for your condition.
While sleep apnea may seem like a minor problem, it can have deadly consequences if left untreated. If you think you may have sleep apnea, don’t wait to get help. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.
Evergreen Dental Care
937 E Main St
Alhambra, CA 91801