Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a difficult sleeping disorder that affects millions of people, and can often go unrecognized. The most obvious symptom of sleep apnea is snoring, and while snoring and sleep apnea are often viewed as one in the same, snoring is more likely just a sign that someone is suffering from sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is said to occur when a person stops breathing for at least 10 seconds, which happens when their airways are blocked when they sleep and is cause for greater concern than just snoring. What makes this disorder especially challenging, and most likely the reason it often goes undetected, is because it can’t be self-diagnosed and is more likely to be noticed by a significant other. Not only is this disruptive for the suffering individual’s sleep, but it deprives their significant other of sleep as well.

It can be very difficult to get a restful sleep when you suffer from sleep apnea. Often times, this disorder affects many other areas of the individual’s life and often lead to life-long cyclical issues; it can become harder to focus at work, mood swings and irritability are more prevalent, and healthy choices are harder to make.

It is said that sleep is the second most influential lifestyle factor that determines weight, next to diet and ahead of activity. Many academic studies have shown an association between sleep disruption and deprivation, weight gain, and even risk of obesity. Many common threads exist throughout these cases; sleep deprivation produces hyperphagia (excessive hunger and abnormally large consumption of food), sleep deprivation offsets hormones meant to control hunger and regulate insulin.

Studies that compared groups of people that slept a full 8-10 hours to people that slept 4-6 hours found an increase in serum ghrelin and decreased serum leptin, hormones meant to control appetite, and made dietary choices that consisted of foods higher in fat and carbohydrates. Coupled with increased feelings of fatigue, that same group saw reduced physical activity.

Sleep apnea can lead to a destructive cycle of decreased energy and poor diet decisions that can have lasting effects on our health and potentially the health of our significant others. Reluctantly, sleep apnea is a very treatable disorder and changes in health and focus are recognizable. My Dentist in Plano has helped patients overcome sleep apnea, with a variety of approaches to help you and your partner get a refreshing, full night’s rest.

If you or your significant other suffer from sleep apnea, make an appointment with My Dentist in Plano for a free evaluation today by calling Dr. Dickson at 972-362-1819, and get on track to better sleep!

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