How Untreated Sleep Apnea Affects Your Health

How Untreated Sleep Apnea Affects Your Health

sleep apnea RichmondSleep apnea, a condition in which a person stops breathing for very brief periods of time repeatedly during sleep, can have serious consequences for your health. If you have signs of sleep apnea, like loud snoring or daytime drowsiness, you should be evaluated to confirm the diagnosis and explore your treatment options.

Patients who have sleep apnea may be at increased risk for a host of issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease (including heart attacks) and stroke. There also appears to be a link between sleep apnea and obesity and diabetes.

Additionally, when your sleep is repeatedly interrupted by these apneic episodes, you will not be as well rested when you wake up. The daytime drowsiness that accompanies sleep apnea can interfere with your ability to take care of your personal and professional obligations, and it can even compromise your driving capabilities.

After you’ve undergone a sleep study to verify that you have obstructive sleep apnea, you can consult with an oral surgeon to learn about the treatment options that can help you reduce these health risks. Keep in mind that a surgical procedure may not be necessary to address your sleep apnea, but these specialists have extensive knowledge of the facial structures that contribute to the environment that produces the sleep apnea, so they are well-versed in the ways to correct those defects.

However, an oral surgeon can give you alternatives if you find that non-surgical methods aren’t effective for you. For example, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) masks are highly effective at eliminating sleep apnea, but many patients find those masks too cumbersome and disruptive to their sleep. Surgery to correct the structural problem that underlies the apnea can be helpful to these patients.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, ignoring the problem can put your health and well-being at risk. Call our office at Commonwealth Oral & Facial Surgery to learn more about your sleep apnea treatment options from an experienced and knowledgeable provider.