Sleep apnea is a fairly common disorder that causes snoring and lapses in breathing during sleep. It is these stoppages of breathing during sleep that worry doctors because the body is deprived of needed oxygen. Obstructive sleep apnea has previously been linked to heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes.
In one study from the University of Wisconsin, researchers reviewed data on people taking part in the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort (a long-running project). The study participants have undergone sleep studies and checkups every four years. The researchers found that the more severe the breathing problems during sleep, the greater the risk of dying from cancer. People with moderate sleep apnea died from cancer about twice as often as people with normal nighttime breathing. Those with severe sleep apnea died at a rate 4.8 times higher.
The other study was completed in Spain and showed that the greater the oxygen deprivation during sleep, the more likely the person would have a diagnosis of cancer.
An amazing number of people have obstructive sleep apnea but have not been diagnosed. A big problem is that of those who are diagnosed, about 50% do not treat their disease! Why would someone choose not to treat something as serious as obstructive sleep apnea? Usually it is because the only treatment option they are given is one they cannot tolerate.
Many sleep specialists prescribe CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) as the only treatment for their patients. While CPAP is the gold standard for treating obstructive sleep apnea a high percentage of people cannot tolerate sleeping with the masks, hoses and machine. A properly fit and adjusted oral appliance created by a dentist with special training in dental sleep medicine can keep the airway open during sleep allowing the patient to breath easily all night long.
Dr. Mark Levy of StoneRidge Dental Care in Columbus, OH has extensive training and experience in the field of dental sleep medicine. Please contact us at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation today.