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Sleep Apnea May Prematurely Age You

Dr Martin Abelar - April 19, 2022 - 0 comments

If you’re like many people, you want to ward off the hands of time and reduce signs of aging. Whether it’s using lotions and potions, plastic surgery, diet and exercise, or other means, Americans spend billions each year trying to stay youthful.  Unfortunately, many things can age us, including genetics, sun damage, and now according to a new study, sleep apnea. But while you can sometimes treat some types of aging, the type of aging caused by sleep apnea, epigenetic aging, can only be reduced by treating your sleep apnea.

The study was conducted by the University of Missouri, and found that while sleep apnea increased the epigenetic age of participants, once treated with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy, patients were able to reduce their epigenetic age after a year.

Unfortunately, many people do not like CPAP therapy, as it requires the use of an uncomfortable mask and tubing. It also requires the use of complicated machinery which is difficult (but essential) to clean. In order to reap the benefits of CPAP in reducing your epigenetic age, you must use your machine nightly for at least 4 hours per night, which may not seem like a long time, but for those who need it, it can seem like an eternity. 

Thankfully, there are alternatives to CPAP therapy, including a mandibular sleep orthotic known as a MAD. Mandibular sleep orthotics prop the airway open manually, without the use of forced air and tubing or mask wearing. They are custom molded to fit your individual mouth, and sit comfortably inside. Because they are an oral appliance, they are also easier to clean and can be soaked during the day in retainer or denture cleanser. 

While it is not known whether or not a sleep orthotic will in fact reduce your epigenetic age, it will help your sleep apnea symptoms and help you get a better night’s sleep. Poor sleep from sleep apnea has been found to cause cognitive impairment, fatigue, depression, and to worsen many health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Abelar offers mandibular sleep orthotics in his clinic and would be happy to discuss your sleep apnea treatment options. To learn more, schedule a consultation with Dr. Abelar,  Dentist in San Diego CAcontact the office today!

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