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Don’t Snore this Holiday Season!
December 5th, 2011 by Dr. Watson

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even…your mouth?

Snoring isn’t fun for anyone to listen to, especially for house guests on Christmas Eve. Chances are, if you or one of your loved ones snores, they probably have sleep apnea, which can be a much more serious disease than many people realize. Over 12 million people don’t know they have sleep apnea, and Dr. Watson wants to help all those patients in Jackson get diagnosed and begin treatment. Jackson Center for Smiles has compiled a list of ten sleep apnea facts to help educate everyone this holiday season.

1) Feeling overweight? People with sleep apnea don’t create human growth hormone at night, which can lead to further weight gain.

Human growth hormone is naturally produced during the first few hours of sleep, but a night interrupted by apneic episodes prevents this process from happening. Insufficient human growth hormone can lead to lower levels of testosterone and a decrease in lean muscle mass in the body, both of which encourage weight gain.

2) If you’re peeing a lot at night, you may have sleep apnea.

Nocturia, or nocturnal urination, can be one symptom of sleep apnea, and often one that people do not associate with this disease. Doctors believe that nocturia is most likely due to the fact that when you have sleep apnea, your heart does not get enough oxygen, which can lead to excess pressure on the organ. The body often misinterprets this pressure as the heart having too much fluid, and it attempts to solve the problem by inducing the need to urinate. This, and many other symptoms should go away if you begin treatment for sleep apnea.

3) Men are 6 times more likely to have sleep apnea than women.

However, after women go through menopause, this statistic evens out to a 1 to 1 ratio.

4) Treating sleep apnea will allow much easier weight control.

This can work in a number of ways, many of which are directly related to getting more, better quality sleep. These benefits include increasing the amount of natural human growth hormone produced while you sleep (see point #2), and raising your daily energy level, making it easier to exercise.

5) Sleep apnea is related to heart problems, and not just because of its relation to being overweight.

As mentioned in point #1, sleep apnea decreases the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream while you sleep, which is very bad for your heart and can cause a lot of problems. When added to the fact that simply being overweight increases your risk of heart disease, this fact is very worrisome for everyone in Jackson looking to live a long, healthy life.

6) An improperly fitted bruxism guard for grinding can actually increase apnea.

If you bought a night guard online, at a grocery store, or even from a poorly trained dentist, chances are it doesn’t fit right. This can lead to misalignment in your teeth and jaw and can affect your airways while you sleep, which increases your chances of suffering from an apneic episode. Dr. Watson can easily fix this by making sure your guard fits properly, and continually checking it over time to prevent uneven wear and tear.

7) People with sleep apnea can stop breathing up to 400 times in one night.

Apneic episodes occur when your body’s normal cycle is interrupted and you are triggered to truly stop breathing. In mild cases, this may occur only a few times each night, but people with severe apnea can endure hundreds of episodes.

8) People with sleep apnea are three times more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents.

The lack of proper sleep caused by apnea leads most people to feel drowsy and unrested throughout the day. Some may even be so sleep-deprived that they fall asleep during normal activities such as talking or driving. Not a good thing!

9) Sleep apnea really is dangerous.

Although some people dismiss it as “just snoring,” this disease has very serious consequences and can greatly impact your health. A lack of healthy sleep increases your risk of heart attack, encourages weight gain, and leads to accidents at home, on the job and while driving (see point #8).

10) Dr. Watson can help your sleep apnea!

Dentistry has taken huge strides in working to cure people of their sleep apnea. Specially designed and personally fitted mouth guards are becoming an extremely popular treatment option, as they are often easier to use and less intrusive than the traditional CPAP machine. A simple consultation with Dr. Watson can help anyone in Jackson discover if this treatment is right for you, and we hope everyone encourages their loved ones to get checked out.