What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a common and under-diagnosed sleep disorder in which an individual’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during a night of sleep.

According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, OSA is:

A disorder, first described in 1965, characterized by recurrent interruptions of breathing during sleep due to temporary obstruction of the airway by lax, excessively bulky, or malformed pharyngeal tissues (soft palate, uvula, and sometimes tonsils), with resultant hypoxemia and chronic lethargy. Sleep in the supine position predisposes apnic episodes.

Symptoms include daytime sleepiness, loud snoring and restless sleep. Sleep apnea is easily diagnosed with an overnight sleep study. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to potentially serious health complications such as heart disease and depression, as well as increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents from drowsy driving.

Fast facts on OSA:

  • Approximately 18 million Americans have this disease, yet only 20% have been diagnosed and treated.
  • Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to many health problems, including depression, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and an increase in accidents and work errors.
  • Sleep apnea causes insulin resistance and, as a result, may cause or worsen diabetes.
  • Sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for hypertension.
  • Motor vehicle accidents are 2-3 times more common in individuals with sleep apnea.
  • While sleep apnea is more prevalent in those aged 50 and above, it can affect people of all ages, including children.
  • Untreated OSA can take up to 15-18 years off your life.
  • An estimated 50,000 people die in the United States yearly because of undiagnosed OSA.

Spring Lake Dental Group is dedicated to providing excellent care to our patients and is in the process of obtaining and implementing new technology that can help treat OSA. Ask your preferred dentist at your next appointment in our office to provide you with more information and to answer any questions you may have about OSA!