Do you snore loudly? Do you wake up feeling irritated and tired after a full night of sleep? If so, you may suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Although you may not think it’s a big deal, choosing not to seek treatment can have detrimental effects on your quality of life. In fact, a recent study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) found that untreated sleep apnea can lead to epigenetic age acceleration. Read on to learn more about this study and the consequences of untreated sleep apnea.
Does Sleep Apnea Make You Age More Quickly?
According to a 2019 study published by the AASM, severe cases of sleep apnea are associated with epigenetic age acceleration. That’s a DNA methylation-based marker of fast biological aging, meaning that while a person may be of a certain age chronologically, it may not be the same as their biological age if they experience untreated sleep apnea symptoms. Essentially, it means that not treating sleep apnea symptoms could cause you to age faster than your actual age.
The Health Consequences of Untreated Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea causes your airway to be obstructed repeatedly throughout the night. Not only does this affect your appearance, but it can contribute to several other oral health problems as well. Additionally, you may experience:
- Mental health issues (i.e., memory loss, depression, anxiety, etc.)
- A weakened immune system that increases the risk of severe infection
- An increased risk of high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and other cardiovascular problems
- Higher blood glucose levels that contribute to type 2 diabetes
- Reduced blood oxygen levels
How to Recognize Sleep Apnea
Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, but it often goes undiagnosed. That’s why it’s incredibly important to keep an eye out for signs of sleep-disordered breathing and sleep disruptions. Do you think that you or a family member are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea? Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue
- Frequent waking throughout the night, usually coughing or gasping for air
- Sudden mood swings and/or irritability
- Headaches upon waking
The good news is that the effects of accelerated aging are reversible, and the other sleep apnea symptoms can be treated. However, you must seek out treatment as soon as possible. With the help of a sleep dentist, you can start looking younger and prevent the disorder from causing problems for your overall health in the long term!
About the Practice
At Papageorgiou Dental Associates, we’re passionate about helping patients of all ages achieve their happiest, healthiest smiles. If you think you may suffer from sleep apnea, we can test, diagnose, and treat it to improve your quality of life. We can discuss your sleep apnea and provide a personalized treatment plan at your consultation. To make an appointment, visit our website or call (508) 545-1126.