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Sleep Apnea and Bone Density

Dr Martin Abelar - February 27, 2023 - 0 comments

If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, you likely know that it doesn’t just affect you while you sleep (or attempt to). Unfortunately, obstructive sleep apnea can affect every facet of your health, from simply feeling tired all the time, to decreased cognitive function, lethargy, anxiety, depression, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer, and now according to a new study, it can even affect your bone health, too!

According to the study, obstructive sleep apnea may be linked to low bone mineral density, an indicator for the bone condition osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition wherein the bones become brittle and weak, increasing the risk of breakage and fracture. Osteoporosis also affects the teeth, making teeth come loose, and causing dental implants to fail.

The study was recently published in the November edition of the Journal of Craniomandibular and Sleep Practice.

Using cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), researchers measured bone density in the heads and necks of 38 patients. Of those 38 participants, half reported having obstructive sleep apnea. What they found was that participants who had obstructive sleep apnea had much lower bone-mineral density than those who did not have obstructive sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when the patient struggles to take in air while sleeping, often gasping and choking to breathe as they sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea can also cause low levels of oxygen in the body, known as hypoxia. Researchers believe that between the hypoxia, oxidative stress, and shortened breath, these could have a negative cumulative effect on bone density and bone metabolism.

So, what can be done to help protect your bones and stop your obstructive sleep apnea symptoms? While many doctors recommend CPAP therapy, many patients are unhappy on this course of treatment, as CPAP machines can often be uncomfortable and awkward, not to mention difficult to clean, adjust, and use during power outages and travel.

Thankfully Dr. Abelar offers a solution for those with sleep apnea who don’t want to go the CPAP route. A custom sleep orthotic can help position your airway open naturally as you sleep. It’s more comfortable than CPAP, easier to care for, and it doesn’t require machinery or electricity.

To learn more about sleep orthotics, please contact Dr. Abelar’s office for a consultation today!

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