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Sleep Apnea and Life Expectancy: What You Should Know

August 10, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — longmid @ 2:54 pm
young woman sleeping with CPAP machine

Sleep apnea might be a silent menace, but it’s a menace that should not be underestimated. Its effects on life expectancy and overall health are significant, making awareness and timely intervention crucial. If you or a loved one suspects sleep apnea, it’s important to explore treatment options that can bring about positive changes and improve your quality of life. Read on to learn about the dangers of sleep apnea and the treatments available to extend life expectancy.

The Dangers of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is more than just a nuisance that causes snoring; it poses serious health risks that extend beyond the realm of sleep. Interrupted breathing can lead to fragmented sleep, which in turn affects cognitive function, mood, and overall quality of life. However, the danger doesn’t stop there. Sleep apnea has been linked to a range of health problems, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and even early mortality.

Impact on Life Expectancy

The link between sleep apnea and life expectancy is a cause for concern. Studies have shown that untreated sleep apnea can significantly shorten a person’s lifespan. The chronic strain on the cardiovascular system due to interrupted breathing and reduced oxygen levels can lead to the development or exacerbation of various health conditions. Cardiovascular diseases, in particular, can increase the risk of heart attacks, arrhythmias, and heart failure, all of which can contribute to premature death.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

The good news is that sleep apnea is a treatable condition! Treatment options vary depending on the severity and type of sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, and sleeping on your side can help mitigate mild cases of sleep apnea. For moderate to severe cases, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is often prescribed. This involves wearing a mask that delivers a steady stream of air, preventing the airway from collapsing during sleep.

In some cases, oral appliances that reposition the jaw and tongue or surgery to remove excess tissue may be recommended. Additionally, adopting a healthier lifestyle by exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and managing stress can contribute to better sleep quality and overall well-being.

About the Practice

For over 40 years, Long Family Dental has been caring for the residents of Midlothian. Drs. Robert and Chris Long continue the legacy set by their father, Dr. Henry Long. Together, they enhance not only smiles, but quality of lives as well. If you think you have sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to ask about the available treatment options. You can make an appointment via our website or call (972) 833-6307.

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