Sleep apnea is more than just snoring. There are a number of negative health effects associated with OSA. Dr. Jacques Doueck explains the health problems in this report.
Dr. Doueck says that when someone is sleeping, the body tries to go down to level three sleep, the deep sleep stage. A person with sleep apnea has an event that is similar to choking. The event does not waken a sleeper, but it does pull the body back to level two sleep. The effect of the airway blockage is that the sleeper’s body does not get the abundant oxygen it needs to repair the body during sleep. Several health problems appear in patients with sleep apnea.
One of the things commonly found in sleep apnea patients, says Dr. Doueck, is uncontrolled high blood pressure. This is caused by the choking effect of sleep apnea. Heart beat rate and blood pressure both rise in response to the event. “And that’s happening every single time there’s a blockage.”
Another symptom Dr. Doueck frequently sees that is closely connected to sleep apnea is acid reflux, or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). The condition brings up stomach acid into the esophagus. The reason this happens has to do with the body’s reaction to the sleep apnea event. When a blockage occurs, the chest muscles contract to push back and open the airway. However, the contraction also pushes stomach acid upward, and the esophagus gets negative pressure, which helps to suck the acid upward. This is not only uncomfortable but has the potential to permanently damage the esophagus.
Yet another sleep apnea problem can be frequent urination. Dr. Doueck explains that the choking effect of sleep apnea, perhaps hundreds of times each night, causes the body to mimic congestive heart failure. The result is the production of hormones that signal the body that it needs to urinate. There are a number of symptoms that vanish with the successful treatment of sleep apnea.
Among the treatment options are a CPAP machine and an oral dental appliance. Dr. Doueck notes that a number of people cannot tolerate CPAP but do fine with oral appliances, and his practice has an 80% success rate with those appliances. CPAP can be 100% successful for patients who will use it. Dr. Doueck says that the reports he has gotten suggest that half of the people who get CPAP machines stop using them.
Dr. Jacques Doueck, DDS, practices with Doueck Dental Sleep Medicine, Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Doueck is a diplomate, American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He holds membership in the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the Academy of Minimally Invasive Biomimetic Dentistry. He hosts a 45 minute weekly radio show on various health topics. He is a clinical consultant for the Dental Advisor, a monthly journal that reviews current dental materials and techniques. Dr. Doueck writes a monthly article on state-of-the-art dentistry for “Image” and “Community” magazines. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.