San Francisco dentist discusses study findings about the bad effects of heavy snoring and sleep apnea on patients
Sleep apnea is a relatively common medical condition that causes a person to stop breathing while they sleep. The episodes can vary in length and can occur many times each night. These abnormal breathing patterns can also be linked to patients who are heavy snorers. While sleep apnea can affect individuals of any age, it becomes more common as a person ages and affects more than 50 percent of older men and 26 percent of older women. Sleep apnea can do more than disrupt a person’s sleep. Over time, it can lead to chronic exhaustion, unexplained headaches, a constant sore throat, and more.
Additionally, a study published in the American Academy of Neurology has found that individuals who have untreated sleep breathing problems are diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) up to 10 years earlier than those who do not suffer from sleep apnea. The study also found that in the same study group individuals with sleep breathing problems developed Alzheimer’s disease five years earlier than those who did not have sleep apnea.
Dr. Leo Arellano, a trusted and respected dentist in the San Francisco area, has been treating patients with sleep apnea for many years. He understands the implications of the study and knows that when breathing stops, neither the body nor the brain are receiving vital oxygen. While the study does not show cause and effect between sleep apnea and early memory loss, it does indicate that it’s important to properly diagnose and treat sleep breathing problems.
A common treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a CPAP machine, which delivers continuous airway pressure and prevents breathing from stopping. However, CPAP machines are often cumbersome and uncomfortable for patients and many individuals simply don’t use them. Dr. Arellano can help those patients by fitting them with a custom-made oral appliance that shifts the jaw and ensures that the airway remains unobstructed. This appliance is similar to a sports mouth guard and is more comfortable than the CPAP machine, which leads to better patient compliance.
For more information about sleep apnea, the bad effects it can have on a person’s health or our practice, call our office today.