- William C. Dement, the father of sleep
On average, you need 7.7 hours of sleep each night to be fully rested and maintain the health of your mind and body. Many individuals think they are getting seven to eight hours of sleep a night, but without knowing it, they are only getting about three to four hours of quality sleep.
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition where a person repeatedly stops breathing during sleep. These episodes last 10 seconds or more and cause oxygen levels in the blood to drop. It can be caused by obstruction of the upper airway, resulting in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or by a failure of the brain to initiate a breath, called central sleep apnea. It can cause and worsen other medical conditions, including hypertension, heart failure, and diabetes.
Approximately 1 of every 3 Americans have sleep disorders at some point in their lives. Today about 20% of adults (1 of every 5 adults) have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and it is increasing.
Sleep disorders cause serious health problems:
- If you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) you are 4 times as likely to have a heart attack
- If you have moderate to severe OSA you are 3 to 4 times as likely to have a stroke
- If you have OSA you are 3 times as likely to develop diabetes (independent of other factors)
- If you have OSA you are twice as likely to die in your sleep and 7 times more likely to have a motor vehicle accident
- OSA patients are at a 40% greater risk of having depression
- A drop from 7 hours quality sleep per night to 5 hours creates double the risk of cardiovascular death. And over 40% of Americans regularly sleep less than 5 hours per night. – 17 year British study published in 2007
- One more hour of quality sleep per night creates a drop in systolic Blood Pressure of 17mm Hg. – 5 year study published in JAMA in 2009
- Americans with undiagnosed OSA are twice as likely to have a car crash, and three to five times more likely to have a serious crash involving personal injury. They are also more likely to have workplace accidents. - 2007 study by the American Thoracic Society
- 1/3 of patients with Coronary Artery Disease have OSA
- 2/3 of Stroke victims have sleep apnea
- Independent of risk factors such as obesity, 15% of OSA patients have diabetes compared to 3% in the general population
- Other OSA sequelae include: impotence, menstrual irregularities, enuresis (bedwetting), depression (lowers the threshold), nocturnal bruxism, weight gain, increased C-reactive protein levels, and GERD. [GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus).]
- Recent study by the American Academy of Periodontology
An effective way to treat sleep apnea is to wear a specially created oral appliance. This appliance is created by a dentist that moves the lower jaw forward to reduce the activity in the back of the mouth. It also pulls the tongue forward so that the airway opens and you can breathe and get the proper amount of oxygen throughout the night.
If you suspect you or your loved ones may have sleep apnea, the staff at Eastland Dental Center can help you diagnose and treat your sleep apnea. After a diagnosis has been made, an oral appliance may be a viable option for you and your situation. Call today to schedule a consultation to find out what we can do to help you sleep better and improve the overall health of your mind and body.
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