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The OSA / Bone Density Link

Dr Martin Abelar - March 31, 2023 - 0 comments

Sufferers of sleep apnea already have a list of challenges and odds stacked against them. From increased rates of diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, anxiety and cognitive impairment, not to mention struggling to breathe while sleeping, and struggling to get a good night’s sleep, having obstructive sleep apnea can be a lot to manage.

Thankfully there are treatment options available from Dr. Abelar, including mandibular orthotic devices that position the airway open naturally, allowing you to breathe (and sleep) easier.

But now, a new study has revealed yet another reason to treat your obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) sooner than later. According to the study, which was conducted by the University of Buffalo School of Dental, obstructive sleep apnea may now also be linked to low bone density.

Low bone density is a dangerous warning sign for the bone condition osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 10 million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, and another 44 million have low bone density.

Osteoporosis is a condition which makes the bones weak and brittle, and increases the likelihood of breaking in accidents such as slip and fall accidents. Osteoporosis can also cause the teeth to become loose and fall out.

The study, which appeared in The Journal of Craniomandibular and Sleep Practice used a type of x-ray called cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) to examine bone density in the neck and head.

The researchers used 38 adult patients, with half reporting having obstructive sleep apnea. After controlling for factors such as gender, age, and weight, researchers found that those with obstructive sleep apnea had much lower bone mineral density than those subjects who did not have OSA.

Researchers believe that this is because the low levels of oxygen which occur from OSA patients struggling to breathe could be affecting bone metabolism, thus affecting bone density.

While the study is just a small study and will require more investigation, researchers believe that those with sleep apnea should be screened for osteoporosis and vice versa. They also do not know if treatment of sleep apnea will help increase bone density or prevent further declines in bone density, however Dr. Abelar recommends treating your sleep apnea as soon as possible.

To learn more about the dangers of sleep apnea, and what a mandibular device from Dr. Abelar can do for you, please contact Dr. Abelar’s office today.

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