Did you know that apnea, a sleep disorder, can affect your overall health? Poor sleep can cause headaches and chronic fatigue, affect your work performance and, in serious cases, lead to health problems, such as hypertension, diabetes, gastric reflux, etc. More than 25% of Canadians have issues associated with a high risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea, according to the Quebec Lung Association.
Adults with apnea often stop breathing for a few seconds—or even a minute—hundreds of times during the night. Their muscles, relaxed during sleep, block their airways. They begin to snore or suffocate, to the point of waking up or preventing their partners from sleeping. While apnea is more common in men, it can also affect menopausal women. Being overweight, having narrow airways or poorly aligned jaws increase the risk.
Polysomnography, a medical test offered by sleep laboratories, can detect apnea, identify its cause and suggest a treatment, such as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, an oral apparatus to realign the jaw and tongue, or a surgery. If you think you are suffering from apnea, don’t wait! Talk to your doctor and your dentist about available treatments.