Symptoms and Consequences of Sleep Apnea

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Medically*, sleep apnea is associated with:

  • Hypertension
  • Heart Failure
  • Coronary occlusion
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart beat irregularity
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Mental impairment
  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Increased risk of sudden cardiac death during sleep hours

Although there is no dental cure for snoring or sleep apnea, an oral appliance can hold the airway in the back of the throat open during sleep and prevent collapse. Sleep apnea can be controlled by a sleep medicine dentist who provides oral appliance therapy.

Consequences of Sleep Apnea

Drowsy Driving

A Canadian study reported that people with sleep apnea are twice as likely to be in a car crash. The study reported that even people with fairly mild sleep apnea had an increased risk of serious crashes.


Almost half of adults snore. And the problem is worse with overweight persons. Medical Snoring can be serious both socially and medically.

What Makes the Snoring Noise?

Snoring occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the free flow of air through the mouth and nose. The sound occurs when loose structures in the throat, like the uvula and soft palate, vibrate as air passes over them. Snoring can get worse when the muscles in the back of the throat are too relaxed either from drugs that induce sleep or alcohol consumption.

Snoring and relationships

Snoring can disrupt marriages and cause sleepless nights for bed partners.

Snoring and your health

Snoring can be the precursor of obstructive sleep apnea that has been linked to heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke. In its own right, snoring has been linked to Type II Diabetes. Sleep apnea usually interrupts loud snoring with a period of silence in which no air passes into the lungs. Eventually the lack of oxygen and the increase carbon dioxide will awaken you forcing the airway to open with a loud gasp.

Heavy Snoring and Heart Disease

Heavy snorers are also more likely to suffer a heart attack while asleep than non-snorers. Blood pressure changes caused by snoring may lead to blockage of the coronary arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. Sleep medicine dentists can control snoring with an oral appliance.

Impact of sleep apnea on the economy...
(Statistics are estimates by the American Sleep Apnea Association)
  • 25 million American suffer from sleep apnea. Of these 200,000 each year are involved in Motor Vehicle Accidents because of sleepiness problems.
  • 38,000 die each year from complications of sleep apnea (i.e. heart attack, stroke etc.) Cost of health care for sleep apnea patients in the ER or ICU is in excess of $50,000 per patient. The total estimated cost in the United States alone is $ 1.9 billion.
  • Productivity ratio is at least 10% less in people who suffer from sleep apnea. That is estimated to costs the US economy $ 75 billion each year

* for additional references, click here