Getting older is just part of life. From a bit of graying hair to a few wrinkles, it’s the price that you pay for the wisdom gained as the years go on. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to do everything you can to take care of yourself and slow the process! Unfortunately, if you suffer from sleep apnea, you may be unknowingly accelerating your aging. Read on to learn more about the link between sleep apnea and age acceleration, and what you can do to help you keep your youthful looks.
First Things First: What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects nearly 30 million adults in the United States. This condition causes frequent pauses in breathing all throughout sleeping from an obstruction in the upper airway. Each time a person stops breathing, the body gets depleted of oxygen and interrupts the sleep cycle. If sleep apnea is not treated, it can lead to several health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, sleep deprivation, and memory loss.
The Connection Between Aging and Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea doesn’t just cause physical health problems. It can not only age your body and mind but cause you to look and feel older. The following are two evidence-based examples of how this serious sleep condition increases aging:
- The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recently released information about age acceleration in the cells and its connection with sleep disturbances caused by certain breathing disorders. Researchers discovered that these changes to the DNA of cells could increase the risk of age-related conditions, like dementia and certain cancers.
- A study by Harvard Medical School found patients with sleep apnea had increased aging in their cells so much that they no longer matched their chronological age. By using the apnea-hypopnea index (a point system used for categorizing the severity of breathing interruptions per night), researchers found there were about 215 days of rapid aging in the participants’ cells. The more severe the apnea-hypopnea index, the faster the aging. Some patients were even linked to 321 days of accelerated aging!
How Can You Age Gracefully with Sleep Apnea?
The good news is that sleep apnea is completely treatable, ensuring that you can keep aging to its natural process as well as get a great night’s sleep! By visiting a sleep doctor, you can get tested and properly diagnosed. Once your sleep apnea is confirmed, your dentist can recommend the best treatment for you.
The most traditional method is using a CPAP machine, which involves wearing a mask over your nose to deliver a steady stream of air pressure to prevent pauses in breathing. Alternatively, you might be a candidate for an oral appliance. The custom-fit device gently pushes the lower jaw forward or holds the tongue in place to prevent an obstruction in the airway, so you can breathe comfortably and easily throughout the night. No matter what your sleep dentist recommends, you will get back on track toward peaceful sleep as well as a youthful body and mind!
About the Practice
Downtown Denver Sleep Solutions are eager to help you keep your oral health and sleep hygiene in top condition. Their two dentists are focused on helping their patients overcome their sleep apnea symptoms with personalized oral appliance therapy. With a team-based approach, they offer advanced solutions and support throughout every stage of your treatment. To schedule an appointment, contact them through their website or call (303) 377-5337.