The Story of American Sleep Deprivation
by Dana Blalock
Fifty percent of those over the age of 50 suffer from sleep apnea, and up to 90 percent remain undiagnosed. It often it shows up as insomnia, low-T (testosterone), low thyroid, frequent nighttime urination or poor sleep quality. It’s not just about snoring. Instead of resting, our bodies are fighting for oxygen and working overtime. When the body is supposed to be entering deep, refreshing sleep, it is being interrupted by a shot of cortisol from the body to get the airway open again.
Untreated sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, insomnia, heart issues, strokes, periodontal disease, memory issues, depression, impotence, acid reflux and even auto accidents.
Many people associate sleep apnea with large, middle-age or older men, but that is not always the case. Dentists are screening and treating young and middle-aged, petite women that have struggled with sleep for years. This usually occurs after they have been treated with thyroid medication, bioidentical hormones, sleeping pills and vitamins. More often than not they have moderate to severe sleep apnea that can be treated with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device or an oral appliance. These are typically covered by medical insurance instead of dental insurance.
To be happier, healthier and more productive, start by going back to the basics: our sleep quality and quantity.
Dana Blalock, DDS, is the owner of Sleep Better South Carolina, located at 210 Seven Farms Dr., on Daniel Island. For appointments, call 843-881-4545. For more information, visit SleepBetterSouthCarolina.com.