Everyone has experienced a sleepless night from time to time; whether it’s from stress, feeling under the weather, or nerves about the upcoming day’s events, a lack of sleep can leave you feeling groggy the next day, with headaches, migraines, muscle fatigue and more. For patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), the chronic lack of sleep night after night can pose serious risks for their health. Learn more about OSA, the serious effects of sleep deprivation, and why seeking treatment from Drs. Mike and Jeremy Frith at Masterpiece Smiles can help St. Louis, MO patients like you can be the most important thing you do for your health.
If you suspect you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or have been recently diagnosed with this condition, we can help. Drs. Mike and Jeremy Frith can diagnose and treat sleep disorders for both children and adults. Contact our St. Louis, MO practice today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you breathe easier at night.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
While there are several types of sleep apnea, OSA is the most common. With OSA, the throat relaxes during sleep to the point of blocking the airway, which inhibits a patient from normal breathing. Breathing often stops and starts suddenly throughout the night. When a person stops breathing they are not getting oxygen and suffocating; many people have died in their sleep from sleep apnea.
Snoring (usually at very loud volumes) is one of the most common signs of OSA. Snoring indicates an airway and breathing issue, so it’s important to seek medical advice if you snore. Be sure to see one of our doctors sooner rather than later if you also exhibit one or more of these common OSA signs:
- Extreme tiredness during the day
- Waking up immediately in the night, along with noticeable gasping or choking
- Chronic sore throat
- Low libido
- Headaches or migraines that begin in the morning shortly before or after waking
- Inability to focus on daily tasks
- Mood swings
- Night sweats
- Weight gain
OSA stops regular air flow while breathing, but also prevents patients from getting restful, rejuvenating sleep and has a negative effect on your memory. This is because the body must wake up throughout the night to correct the muscle relaxation that happens in the throat. Sometimes these awakenings are so brief that the patient doesn’t remember them, but they are enough to affect the natural cycle of sleep the body needs to rest and repair.
The Effect of Sleepless Nights
Sleep deprivation is a serious medical issue that can have a huge impact on a person’s mental and physical health. Research has shown that adults need an ideal 7-9 hours of sleep every night; however, OSA sufferers usually receive far less. Johns Hopkins sleep researcher Patrick Finan, Ph.D, conducted research into exactly how a lack of sleep can affect the body. In his studies, he found that patients with significant lack of sleep:
- Are three times more likely to develop Type II diabetes
- Face a 33% increase in risk for dementia
- Contribute to the annual 6,000 fatal car accidents that occur from tired driving
- Release more hunger-inducing hormones (ghrelin) and less appetite-control hormones (leptin), putting them at an increased risk for weight gain or obesity
- Are three times more likely to develop a cold due to a weakened immune system
- Experience greater risks for depression, irritability and forgetfulness
Effective treatment for sleep disorders, like Obstructive Sleep Apnea, from our doctors at Masterpiece Smile can improve your overall health and wellbeing. We have experience helping patients just like you receive a safe and restful night’s sleep, sometimes even reversing Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you are dealing with OSA, don’t put off treatment; contact our St. Louis, MO practice today so we can help you get back to a restful night’s sleep soon. Call us at 636.394.5200.