Health Risks Associated with Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which effect your breathing while you sleep, causing you to pause or stop breathing entirely. This interuption causes your body to wake up you up to resume breathing. These interruptions prevent you from getting the rest you need, leaving you feeling tired during the day.

Sleep apnea poses great risks than just feeling sleepy. When left untreated, it can contribute to:

  • Heart Disease
  • Depression
  • Acid Reflux
  • Memory Loss
  • Mental Confusion
  • Adult Asthma
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Low Blood Oxygen Levels
  • Decreased Sexual Desire
  • Abnormal Cholestoral
  • Higher Blood Sugar Levels
  • Liver Problems

Are you at risk?

The STOP-BANG questionnaire uses a series of questions and results of physical measurements to calculate the risk for sleep apnea in adults aged 18 and older.

Snoring – Do you snore loudly (loud enough to be heard through closed doors)?
Tired – Do you often feel tired, fatigued or sleepy during the daytime?
Observed – Has anyone observed you stop breathing or choking/gasping during your sleep?
Pressure – Do you have or are being treated for high blood pressure?
Body mass index (BMI) – Body mass index more than 35kg/m2?
Age – Age older than 50?
Neck circumference – Neck size 17 inches or larger for males or 16 inches or larger for females?
Gender – Male?

Positive answers to the above questions are then used to determine risk:
Low risk – Yes to 0 to 2 questions
Intermediate risk – Yes to 3 to 4 questions
High risk – Yes to 5 to 8 questions

  • OR yes to 2 or more of 4 STOP questions + male gender
  • OR yes to 2 or more of 4 STOP questions + BMI > 35kg/m2
  • OR yes to 2 or more of 4 STOP questions + neck circumference ≥ 17 inches for males or ≥ 16 inches for females

What causes sleep apnea? Sleep apnea happens when your airway becomes blocked or collapses during the night. Each time your breathing restarts, you might let out a loud snore that wakes both you and your bed partner.


Adult Canadians Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea
males at high risk for developing sleep apnea
more likely to report having diabetes

How often do you feel tired during the day?

Effects of Sleep Apnea on the Body

Many health conditions are linked to sleep apnea, including obesity and high blood pressure. These conditions, coupled with the lack of sleep, can harm many different systems in your body.

You might find yourself short of breath or have more trouble exercising. Sleep apnea is depriving your body of oxygen while sleep, as a result, this can worsen symptoms of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
One of the effects of Sleep Apnea is for people to develop insulin resistance, a condition in which the cells don’t respond as well to the hormone insulin. When your cells don’t take in insulin the way they should, your blood sugar level rises and you can develop type 2 diabetes. Sleep apnea has also been associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of heart disease risk factors that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and larger-than-normal waist circumference.
If you have sleep apnea, you’re more likely to have fatty liver disease, liver scarring, and higher-than-normal levels of liver enzymes. Apnea can also worsen heartburn and other symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which can interrupt your sleep even more.
Sleep apnea can reduce your desire to have sex. In men, it could contribute to erectile dysfunction and affect your ability to have children.

Treating Sleep Apnea

At Lethbridge Dental Surgical Suites, we understand the stress obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) places on your daily routine. We also have the knowledge to get you sleeping fully again. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes your airway to collapse during sleep, decreasing airflow to your lungs. This can happen several times each night, causing your brain to wake your body in order to start breathing again. Decreased oxygen and frequent awakenings can affect your health. Fortunately, it’s treatable.

A sleep apnea oral appliance is a premium, custom-fit dental appliance developed for the treatment of snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It may be an effective, comfortable, and durable alternative to CPAP therapy or corrective surgery.


Want to stop snoring?

Try these natural solutions and lifestyle changes, which may help you stop snoring.

  • Change Your Sleep Position
  • Lose Weight
  • Avoid Alcohol
  • Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
  • Open Nasal Passages
  • Change Your Pillows
  • Stay Well Hydrated