Don’t Let Sleep Apnea Affect Your Health

Considering Diagnosis and Treatment for Sleep Apnea

How serious is sleep apnea? If left untreated, sleep apnea is potentially very dangerous. The condition brings with it an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and dementia. It can be fatal in some cases.

There’s a 2015 study examining the association of obstructive sleep apnea with clinical outcomes including all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease(CHD), strokes and chronic kidney disease. It found that people with untreated sleep apnea are 86% more likely to die at a younger age than people who don’t have sleep apnea. It definitely increases the risk of dying younger than you would otherwise.

Side Effects of Sleep Apnea

There are many side effects and complications of untreated sleep apnea. Studies show a strong link between obstructive sleep apnea and depression, though the relationship is not fully understood. Another study found that sleep apnea might be associated with erectile dysfunction in men. It has also been associated with liver damage and metabolic syndrome and increases the risks associated with surgery and undergoing anesthesia.

How is the condition diagnosed? See your primary care doctor if you experience these: loud snoring, headache on waking up, dry mouth, insomnia, daytime sleepiness, irritability, gasping for air at night. It might be sleep apnea. If your doctor suspects it, you might be referred to a sleep specialist for a full evaluation.

Evaluation for sleep apnea will require an overnight stay at a sleep center for monitoring. The primary test is a nocturnal polysomnography that monitors everything from your heart and brain activity to your breathing patterns and blood oxygen levels. There are home sleep test options but are not as reliable.

Treatment Option for Sleep Apnea

What treatment options are available? Lifestyle changes will be the first step, and these include weight loss and exercise, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and changing your sleeping position. A CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine may be recommended which will keep your airways open while you sleep. This method treats moderate to severe sleep apnea.

If these don’t work, surgical solutions are available. These are tissue removal and tissue shrinkage, jaw repositioning, nerve stimulation, and tracheostomy. Consider your best option. Treating this condition is still worth all the trouble.


Seeking Treatment in Bellingham

For all its worth, look into your sleep apnea condition and consider the possible consequences. For life and health and for the treatment of sleep apnea, pay us a visit here at Tetrick Family Dentistry in Bellingham, WA.

What To Expect When You Neglect Your Oral Health

The Picture of Neglect

Some dentists say that they’ve observed that the most negligent group when it comes to oral health is that set of people in their twenties. These young adults call themselves health-conscious, mind you, and are very much aware about healthy foods, healthy lifestyles and practices. They have the discipline to work out at the gym, attend yoga classes, and engage in sports. However, if you ask them about the state of their teeth and gums, they’d say they’re fine, nothing is painful and their teeth and gums look good.

Putting their energy, resources and their time into the pursuit of their general health, they tend to forget their mouth. If ever they see their dentist, who will tell them about a bad bite, a small cavity, a little puffiness in the gums, these people will likely shrug off the advice, not feeling anything wrong. After all, regular dental visits are not exactly at the top of their list.

Down the road at some time, a compromised tooth will become painful or sensitive, or their gums start to bleed, then only then will they seek dental care. The fix by this time may require more extensive repair or replacement. It doesn’t take long for significant damage to be done. In as little as a year and a half, neglect can create a torrent of issues. Some will be difficult if not impossible to fix.

Many patients in their 50s will have unsalvageable teeth which could have been saved if they were helped by their dentists 30 years earlier. Basically, if you don’t see your dentist for two years, you’re already compromising your health. If you skip visits for five years, you’re going to see some bone loss. Ten years without professional dental care and you’re almost certain to have severe bone loss.

Bone loss is asymptomatic, people just don’t feel it happening. Bones become less dense and more fragile as one gets older, becoming prone to breakage. Unfortunately, harmful bacteria in the mouth hasten the process of disintegration in the bone supporting the teeth. Teeth can loosen in their sockets and fall out and nothing can be done at this point to stimulate bone growth. Bone loss can be prevented with good habits that diminish bacterial growth in the mouth so that teeth are preserved longer.

Being mortals, we are designed to age and die. Our teeth and gums will eventually give way, but we can slow it down by paying attention to our oral health.


Caring About Oral Health in Bellingham

If you are concerned about your overall health, certainly your oral health is part and parcel of your well-being. Keep your regular visits with us and preserve your dental health for the longest time possible.

Less Emergency Visits with Proper Dental Care

Benefits of Preventive Oral Care Plans

If you are a health provider or the patient, did you know that with a preventive care benefit, you can reduce the times you have to go to the emergency department of hospitals and even hospitalizations?

If dental services are integrated more tightly into the medical care system, it can cut utilization by those people with chronic conditions. Research shows that those with chronic illnesses but without dental coverage through medical insurance companies had a higher rate of hospital stays than those with dental benefits. On the other and, those who had dental coverage but did not use the benefit for preventive services had 3 times higher incidence rate of emergency department visits than those who took advantage of routine dental care.

Having quality dental coverage, and using it for preventive care, can contribute to overall good health. Research reinforce how integrating medical and dental coverage and care can be associated with improved health and lower costs for those who suffer from chronic medical issues.

We know already that poor dental health has been linked to an increase in heart disease and that gum disease and other dental issues contribute directly to cardiovascular events. There are strong correlations between oral health and the successful management of chronic conditions.

Research found that persons with serious oral health conditions spent twice as much as other members on healthcare expenses. Individuals with dental health issues are also 25 percent more likely to suffer from heart disease, two times as likely to experience an emergency visit or hospitalization, and are also more likely to be diagnosed with autoimmune conditions, kidney disease, and anemia.

Seeking oral care throughout life can help detect more serious problems still to happen. Unfortunately, dental benefits are not always available, or often financially separated from traditional insurance coverage. This affects the access for individuals on the lower end of the socioeconomic strata. Individuals in the lowest income brackets are half as likely as well-off patients to visit a dentist. This situation calls for more concern if good oral health is targeted to be available to all.


Preventive Care with Benefits in Bellingham

Know that at Tetrick Family Dentistry, we practice preventive dentistry on all our cases. Proper preventive care avoids or delays oral diseases that are also linked to chronic health issues. Visit us in Bellingham.