The average life expectancy in the U.S. is slightly over 77 years of age. However, millions of people live far beyond that marker, enjoying a happy and productive life well into their 80s or beyond. What can you do to be in that group? For one thing, it is critical that you get an adequate amount of high-quality sleep. Read on below to learn how disordered breathing at night could shorten your life expectancy and how sleep apnea treatment could help you live longer.
Sleep Apnea Could Shorten Your Life!
There are a few different types of sleep apnea. The most common variety, known as obstructive sleep apnea or simply OSA, occurs when tissues in the throat block the free flow of air, leading to pauses in breathing. Those pauses disrupt the sleep cycle and lower your body’s blood oxygen levels.
Left untreated, OSA can have life-threatening consequences. In fact, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, moderate sleep apnea can increase the risk of death by a whopping 17%!
A separate study found that sleep apnea accelerates biological aging. Your biological age is measured by activities in your body at a cellular level, whereas chronological age is simply the number of years, months, and days since your birth. Researchers agree that biological age is a more important predictor of disease and death than chronological age.
Why Is Sleep Apnea So Serious?
There are several ways in which OSA could endanger your life. For example, it is associated with a significantly increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. It is also strongly correlated with type 2 diabetes (and it can make diabetes more difficult to control). Additionally, it can make it very challenging for its victims to maintain a moderate body weight.
OSA can also heighten the risk of death from external problems. For examples, because it can decrease concentration and slow down your reflexes, it increases the odds that you will be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
How Can Sleep Apnea Treatment Extend Your Life?
While the above information can seem a little scary, there is reason to take heart. Sleep apnea treatment can undo many, or perhaps all, of the bad effects of this condition. It can slow down (or even reverse) biological aging and lower your risk of heart disease and other serious illnesses.
There are a few different ways to treat OSA. Doctors commonly prescribe a CPAP machine, which uses pressurized air to prevent pauses in breathing. Another option, which many patients find to be more comfortable and convenient, is a custom oral appliance from a dentist. A dental sleep appliance gently repositions the lower jaw in a way that allows for uninterrupted breathing. It can greatly reduce, or perhaps eliminate, OSA symptoms.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that could shorten your life. Fortunately, it is highly treatable!
Meet the Practice
Dr. Kenneth Mogell is double board-certified in dental sleep medicine. He has well over 10 years of experience in helping patients conquer OSA via oral appliance therapy. If you are struggling with nighttime breathing problems, he and our team would be pleased to assess your situation and provide guidance on your next steps. Contact any of our three convenient locations or call our Boca Raton office at 561-353-5252.