Heart Arrhythmia Risk Increased for Sleep Apnea Sufferers

The danger  of heart arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation (afib) are increased in patients who have sleep apnea. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study which showed that the risk of having an abnormal heartbeat was 18 times higher immediately after an apnea episode compared to during normal sleep breathing.Sleep apnea increased risk of atrial fibrillation.

The sleep apnea did not have to be severe to raise the risk of atrial fibrillation. “Our focus was on individuals with mild to moderate apnea since it is those people we could compare periods of sleep where there were no apneas to periods where apneas occurred,” said coauthor Dr. Susan Redline of Case Western Reserve University. This work “underscores the tight link between heart disease and sleep apnea dn the need to further evaluate the impact of sleep apnea treatment on reducing heart disease burden.”

Sleep apnea treatment can be problematic. The gold standard for treating the disease is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), however studies show that about 50% of patients discontinue CPAP within one year and those that do continue average only about 3 hours per night. A treatment that has been declared effective by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is oral appliance therapy available from a dentist who is trained in dental sleep medicine. An oral appliance is a small mouthpiece that is worn while sleeping and it works by gently placing your lower jaw in a position that keeps the airway open during sleep. No more waking, gasping for air and no more snoring for your bed partner to listen to.

Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea or do you snore loudly and experience daytime sleepiness? We may be able to help! Please contact Rothfus Family Dental at 541-858-7994 today to schedule your consultation to see if you are a candidate for oral appliance therapy. Serving Rogue Valley families and Making Smiles Happen, Daily!