Snoring Is No Laughing Matter

In last night's episode of #LittleWomenATL, we all got a glimpse into the dangers of  snoring and #sleepapnea.

For those who do not watch the show, one of the characters, Minnie - faces a scary medical issue on this week’s Little Women: Atlanta. After nearly collapsing on a treadmill, (she struggles to draw breaths after just two minutes on the treadmill), only a couple days later - her mother tells her that she noticed Minnie stops breathing while sleeping.

These revelations are clear indications that Minnie might be suffering from some sort of condition. Stopping breathing while sleeping is commonly due to a condition called sleep apnea. The body pauses between breaths while a person is asleep. Sometimes these pauses can last longer than is safe, making the disorder potentially dangerous.

Sleep apnea typically refers to impaired breathing from an obstructed airway during sleep.

Sleep apnea can have serious health consequences. It's a common problem, affecting more than half of all men and over one-quarter of women. Recent research has also found that sleep apnea appears to be far more hazardous for women than men and that children are increasingly at risk for sleep apnea and associated health problems.

If you snore while sleeping, you should inquire with a physician about ruling out or determining if you have sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Linked to Higher Risk of Gout

One of the most recently added side effects of sleep apnea is an increased risk of gout. Gout is a type of painful arthritis where the inflammation frequently targets the base of your big toe. Gout occurs when your body experiences high levels of uric acid in the body.  A recent British study found that people with sleep apnea were about 50 percent more likely to havegout than those who sleep well, and this held true regardless of sex, age, or weight.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea Raises Your Risk of Diabetes

One of the reasons why sleep deprivation is so damaging to your health is related to how it impairs your body's response to insulin. Impaired insulin sensitivity, also known as insulin resistance, is a number one leading precursor to type 2 diabetes. One of the most recent long-term studies looking at this link found that seniors who snore or suffer with sleep apnea are 27 and 50 percent more likely, respectively, to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who sleep well.

In fact, controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your risk of chronic disease, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. A number of studies have shown that lack of sleep can very quickly put you into a pre-diabetic state, and chronic sleep disturbance significantly raises your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Eve Van Cauter, a sleep and metabolism researcher at the University of Chicago who was not involved in the study told Reuters that "getting good sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise to remain healthy during the aging process," and that "people must insist that their doctors include sleep hygiene and sleep health in their evaluation and recommendations."

Sleep Apnea in Children Linked to Lower Grades in School

Aleep apnea also affects your mental functioning, and this can have dire ramifications for school-age children. According to recent research analysis of 16 published studies, kids with sleep apnea tend to struggle in school and perform worse in language arts, math, and science compared to those who do not have sleep or breathing problems. As noted by lead author Barbara Galland, a research associate professor at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand:

Sleep apnea... may interfere with getting a good night's sleep, which may, in turn, contribute to children having a hard time paying attention and being less ready to learn and perform academically during the day. If a large sample of children without sleep-disordered breathing achieved an average 70 percent score for a test examination, a comparable sample of children of the same age with sleep-disordered breathing would be estimated to achieve an average score 11 percent below (59 percent).

At Boston Center for Oral Health, we are conducting a sleep apnea study. Come see Boston Center for Oral Health and see if you qualify for our new custom made oral appliance. These dental devices can tease the lower jaw forward and prevent the tongue from blocking the main air passage during sleep. These devices are gentle, easy to wear and allow patients to avoid unwanted surgeries for treatment of sleep apnea.  CALL 617-536-4620

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