Is Sleep Apnoea Dangerous?

At Dental Pearls we endeavour to provide our Brisbane patients with exceptional all-round oral care including the treatment of sleep apnoea.

Our approach to dentistry is a sensitive and sympathetic one and we are committed to providing you with the best, most appropriate treatment.

What Is Sleep Apnoea?

Sleep apnoea is a sleep disorder that affects millions of Australians and can have potentially dangerous complications. Sleep apnoea constantly disturbs the function of your breathing and is characterised by snoring and feelings of fatigue. Sleep apnoea occurs in three variations:

  1. obstructive sleep apnoea
  2. central sleep apnoea
  3. complex sleep apnoea syndrome.

The obstruction of your breathing during sleep is caused by the muscles failing to sufficiently support the soft palate, the tonsils and the tongue. As these muscles relax your airways tighten and make it difficult to breathe. Naturally, there is less oxygen in the blood and your brain is alerted to the fact that your breathing is too short. So, a message is sent to briefly ‘wake up’ and breathe normally, sometimes even without you knowing about it. Snoring is one of the major symptoms of sleep apnoea and may accompany other sounds akin to gasping for air.

The Effects of Sleep Apnoea

The effects of sleep apnoea are many and varied. It is recognised as a serious medical concern and can drastically alter the quality of your life if left untreated. If you experience extreme fatigue during the day, this is usually because your sleep has been interrupted and your body hasn’t got the rest it needs. Further symptoms include a tendency to nod off during the day, drowsiness and irritability. This makes sleep apnoea sufferers a hazard to themselves and others while driving and more likely to be involved in an accident.

Snoring loudly can also place a huge strain on your relationship with your partner as their own quality of life is affected. Sleep apnoea can also be detrimental to the liver. It will test abnormally and probably show signs of scarring as well, it is known as, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Metabolic syndrome is the result of several concerns such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol. As your blood is less oxygenated during stunted breathing, so too does your blood pressure increase and place stress on the cardiovascular system. Sleep apnoea also increases the likelihood of you developing hypertension.

Obstructive sleep apnoea increases the risk of abnormal heartbeats and is also linked to a recurrence of heart attacks as well as strokes. It is especially dangerous if there is any underlying heart disease as the low levels of oxygen in the blood can lead to an irregular heartbeat and possibly a sudden death.

Sleep apnoea sufferers are also more likely to foster a resistance to insulin and type 2 diabetes compared to those who don’t. Medical procedures also become a problem and sleep apnoea patients are at risk of experiencing complications if they’ve had complex surgery. Always make sure to inform your doctor of your condition and the details of your treatment.

Sleep Apnoea Treatment from Dental Pearls

After thorough assessment, such as a sleep study and a special 3D x-ray, a mandibular advancement splint can be made instead of CPAP. This will support the airway, keeping it patent and protecting the teeth from further damage caused by parafunctional activities such as grinding and clenching.

To make an appointment with us for sleep apnoea treatment or to find out more, please click here.

 

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