22 Mar

London dentist breaks link between sleep apnea and heart failure

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes patients’ breathing to be interrupted many times during the night on several nights of the week. It has also been found to thicken blood vessels and increase the risk of many forms of cardiovascular disease. It can be particularly dangerous in patients who have already suffered heart failure or who are currently suffering from heart disease.
The condition is caused, either when the soft palate at the back of the throat collapses temporarily blocking the airways, or when the central respiratory area of the brain stops sending messages to the lungs to breath. In both cases the situation usually corrects itself after a few seconds but if this is happening many times during a night you can imagine the strain it will be putting on the heart.
This continual deprivation of oxygen is known as ‘chronic intermittent hypoxia’ and can affect the state of the patients’ blood vessels. It can also cause pulmonary hypertension which causes the heart to have difficulty when pumping.
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by your London dentist. They should be able to distinguish between the different types of apnea in order to provide the most effective treatment. Although in most cases, sleep apnea will not cause heart failure, it does increase the risk and will also be the underlying cause of many other health problems such as stress and anxiety. Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea will usually involve fitting some kind of dental appliance to prevent the palate collapsing during sleep but will vary on the individual.