If you have sleep apnea, you likely know that waking up is sometimes hard to do. After all, when you don’t sleep soundly, you aren’t going to wake up rested and renewed like you should be. Sleep apnea is notorious for causing constant waking throughout the night, and disrupting your life. It can cause everything from depression to cognitive impairment, and it has also been linked to diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.
But now, a new study has found that cognitive impairment is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sleep apnea. The study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Sleep, examined 27 men with sleep apnea and tested their cognitive abilities. The otherwise healthy men reported no other comorbid conditions to their sleep apnea, but when their cognition was tested, it was found that they were not just suffering from cognitive impairment, but actual likely-permanent cognitive decline!
Thankfully treatment options exist for your sleep apnea, though it may not be able to reverse any damage caused by this condition.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is categorized by an obstructed airway, which causes the patient to struggle to breathe as they are in the reclined position. This causes them to gasp and choke as they struggle for air, and wake repeatedly throughout the night, whether they realize they are waking frequently or not.
Sleep apnea most frequently occurs in middle-aged men who are overweight, but can appear in anyone. To reduce one’s risks and symptoms of sleep apnea, it is recommended that you do not smoke, you eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, and maintain a healthy weight.
For those who already have sleep apnea, there are several treatment options, including surgery, CPAP therapy, and mandibular orthotic devices that position the airway open naturally.
While CPAP therapy is the most commonly prescribed way to treat sleep apnea, many people do not like CPAP machines, because they require an uncomfortable mask and awkward tubing. Additionally, they require a battery charge or electricity, and are difficult to program and clean.
Mandibular devices on the other hand are custom fit to your mouth and position the airway open naturally without the use of forced air or cumbersome equipment. They are more comfortable to wear, and they are much easier to clean.
Dr. Abelar offers mandibular devices at his practice, and would love to discuss your options with you if you suffer from sleep apnea. To schedule a consultation, please contact the office today!