OSA - RELATED DISORDERS
Medical conditions are often related to other diseases or conditions. The same is true of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Below is a list of conditions which may be a cause of OSA or a condition for which you may be at increased risk if you have been diagnosed with OSA. When reviewing it, please keep in mind that managing your OSA can also have a positive impact on underlying medical conditions too.
Headaches: Approximately 20% of patients with OSA experience headaches, which are typically located above the eyebrows. They tend to be dull and may last for at least 1-2 hours after awakening. Experts believe that the hypoxemia (i.e., reduced oxygen in the blood) caused by OSA is partially responsible.
- Snoring: Snoring can lead to development of OSA because the vibrations of the soft palate associated with snoring can cause changes to tissue structure which, in turn, can result in blockage of your airway.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ Disorder): The interrelationship between TMJ disorders and OSA is easy to understand when we consider the fact that 85% of the nasal airway is made up of the maxillary (i.e., upper jaw) bones. Additionally, an underdeveloped jaw can result in less space for your tongue which, in turn, can result in blockage of your airway.
Teeth Grinding & Clenching (i.e., Sleep Bruxism): Teeth grinding and clenching is generally understood to be an unconscious attempt by your body to bring your jaw forward to open your airway and improve your breathing during sleep.
- High-Blood Pressure: There is evidence that treating people with sleep apnea lowers their blood pressure and night – and during the day, too.
Atrial Fibrillation (i.e., irregular heart beat): People with atrial fibrillation, who have OSA that is managed appropriately, have only a 40% chance of returning for further treatment of their atrial fibrilation. If OSA remains untreated, their chance of recurrence of atrial fibrillation jumps to 80%.
- Coronary Artery Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, Stroke and Heart Attack: People with cardiovascular problems have a high prevalence of sleep apnea. Whether sleep apnea actually causes heart diseases is unclear, but we do know that people with untreated OSA are at significantly increased risk of high-blood pressure, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, stroke and heart attack. Managing OSA can significantly reduce these risks.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Sleep problems and GERD go hand in hand. Some researchers believe that OSA results in airway pressure changes that cause reflux to occur. Others contend that the reflux results in spasms of the vocal cords that can lead to sleep apnea.
- Obesity: Common diseases and disease mechanisms in OSA and obesity suggest that conditions related to obesity may be better managed if patients, particularly those who are morbidly obese, are evaluated and treated for previously undiagnosed OSA.
Diabetes: People suffering from OSA and diabetes have been found to be more resistant to insulin treatment if their sleep disorder remains untreated.
- Liver Problems: People with OSA are more likely to have abnormal results on liver function tests and their livers are more likely to show signs of scarring.
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Children with untreated OSA are often hyperactive and commonly diagnosed with ADHD. A recent study found, however, that treating sleep problems may be enough to eliminate attention and hyperactivity issues for some children.
It’s simple: if you do not sleep well, you cannot be well. Dr. Bailey can assess your potential for OSA and, if warranted, provide effective solutions to help you manage it. In addition to improving the quality of your sleep, the treatment we provide in our office may also increase efficacy of treatment you may be receiving for other OSA-related disorders.
A Special Note to Women:
Studies often suggest that Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is more common in men than women; however, this may not be true. Many researchers now believe the numbers are understated because women with OSA are often misdiagnosed as having one or more of these conditions:
- Cardiac or pulmonary illnesses
- Fatigue from overwork
- Menopausal changes
- Restless Leg Syndrome
- Marfan Syndrome
If you are a woman being treated for any of these health problems, and you are not getting the results you and your doctor expect, contact us for a sleep evaluation. We can screen you for OSA and provide treatment, if warranted. In addition to enabling you to experience the benefits of recuperative sleep, it can also improve the efficacy of your treatment for other potentially OSA-related health issues.