Sleep Apnea and Brain Damage

loud snoringAwareness about the detrimental effects of sleep apnea is increasing. Sleep apnea is responsible for a growing list of health problems for millions of individuals. Some of these troubles are less urgent,  but some are life threatening.

James Stewart, DDS, is a sleep apnea expert, and he offers various treatment options to help his patients lead healthier, more rewarding lives.

So what kind of connection does a sleep disorder have on the brain, and why are dentists playing such a huge role in the fight against it?

There are three kinds of sleep apnea:

1) Central Sleep Apnea [CSA]. This occurs when neurological mechanisms controlled by the brain fail to signal the body to inhale, resulting in missed breathing cycles. The lapse in breathing happens again and again throughout the night.

2) Obstructive Sleep Apnea [OSA]. The most common form of sleep apnea. OSA is caused by upper airway obstruction preventing airflow. The disruption causes the individual’s sleep pattern to become broken, and natural, critical sleep cycles cannot run their course.

3) Complex or mixed apnea. A combination of the two disorders.

The result of sleep apnea through the night is significant sleep loss. Other problems include:

  • Low productivity during the day.
  • Irritability, forgetfulness, and poor concentration.
  • Dangers of sleepiness when alertness is critical, such as when driving or operating dangerous machinery.
  • Health problems, including heart attack, stroke, impotence, and depression.
  • Comparable disturbed sleep for sleep partners.

But science is showing the deeper connotations are much more serious. Consequential sleep deprivation can eventually cause brain damage, with reduced gray matter density. Sleep scientists assert that sleep apnea sufferers’ brains eventually lose ability to rejuvenate and maintain plasticity, meaning accelerated aging of the brain.

Dentistry from older generations focused solely on taking care of your teeth. Modern dentistry understands the correlation between oral care and overall health. The prevalence of OSA is known to affect 18+ million Americans from all age groups. Because OSA is most common and is produced by a physiological obstruction, it is often treatable with proper, convenient apparatus.

Dr. Stewart and our staff at Dental Sleep Medicine of Michigan are particularly adept at providing a minimally invasive solution to alleviate OSA and its troublesome effects. Call our Livonia dental office today at (734) 425-4400 to set your appointment for evaluation.