In the U.S., the average life expectancy is slightly higher than 77 years of age. However, millions of people enjoy life far beyond that marker, remaining active and happy well into their 80s or even their 90s. What can you do to be part of that group? For one thing, it is important that you get enough high-quality sleep. Continue reading below to learn how disordered nighttime breathing could shorten your life expectancy and how appropriate sleep apnea treatment could help you live longer.
Sleep Apnea Could Shorten Your Life
There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one, known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), happens when tissues in the throat interfere with the free flow of air, causing pauses in breathing. Those pauses, which can happen dozens or hundreds of times in a single night, interrupt your sleep cycle and lower your body’s blood oxygen levels.
Left untreated, OSA can lead to life-threatening complications. In fact, data from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicates that moderate sleep apnea can increase the risk of death by as much as 17%!
Separate research found that sleep apnea can speed up biological aging. Your biological age is indicated by how your body operates at a cellular level. (It is different from chronological age, which is simply the amount of time since that has passed since you were born.) Experts agree that biological age is an important predictor of death and disease.
Why Is Sleep Apnea So Serious?
There are numerous ways in which OSA could put your life in danger. For example, it can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It can also heighten your risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as make diabetes more challenging to keep under control. Additionally, it can make it difficult for you to keep your body weight within a healthy range.
OSA also has the potential to increase the risk of death from external issues. It can interfere with your ability to drive safely, heightening the odds that you will be involved in a car accident.
How Can Sleep Apnea Treatment Extend Your Life?
The above information may seem scary, but there is reason to be hopeful. Sleep apnea treatment can undo many — or perhaps even all — of the bad effects of OSA. It can slow down, or possibly even reverse biological aging, as well as lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and other grievous illnesses.
There are a few different ways to address OSA. Many patients find that an oral appliance from a dentist is comfortable, convenient, and effective. An oral appliance is a small, custom-made device that gently repositions the lower jaw at night in order to keep the airway open.
Sleep apnea could shorten your life! The good news is that it is a highly treatable condition.
Meet the Practice
Dr. Mitch Conditt knows firsthand about the potentially devastating consequences of OSA — he was diagnosed with it in 2009. He derives great satisfaction from helping patients achieve better rest and improved health via oral appliance therapy. To learn more about him and how he may be able to serve you, contact our office at 817-527-8500.