825 S Waukegan Rd, Lake Forest, IL 60045

sleep apnea and the brain

What does Untreated Sleep Apnea do to the Brain?


Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that occurs while sleeping. It often results in snoring because the soft tissue in the airway block air from freely flowing and reaching the lungs. As a result, the sufferer experiences lower blood oxygenation, which is necessary for vital organs to function fully. Sleep apnea also causes chronic fatigue, depression, mood swings, and low sex drive, among other symptoms. But studies show a strong connection between untreated sleep apnea and brain health. So today on the blog, our sleep apnea dentists in Lake Forest share what untreated sleep apnea has to do with the brain.

What’s the connection between sleep apnea and the brain?

According to research published by UCLA, untreated sleep apnea increases the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, which could contribute to the likelihood of brain injury and accelerates brain damage. Because sleep apnea decreases blood oxygenation, your blood pressure increases, thinning the blood-brain barrier, which could have devastating consequences related to brain injuries.

What’s the purpose of the blood-brain barrier?

You might not be too concerned with your blood-brain barrier, but you should be. The blood-brain barrier is responsible for limiting harmful bacteria, infections, and chemicals from reaching the brain. Unfortunately, when this barrier is broken down, there is a higher risk of significant brain damage like a stroke, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other serious health issues related to the brain.

What are the available treatments for apnea?

The CPAP machine has been the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea, although many users do not remain compliant because the machine is cumbersome, noisy, and the mask is uncomfortable. But discontinuing treatment puts the sufferer at risk again. Therefore, Lake Forest Smiles is excited to offer alternative sleep apnea treatment with oral appliance therapy. Made from impressions of your mouth, the oral appliance is worn while sleeping as it gently repositions the lower jaw to help open the airway. As a result, it reduces your snoring and other sleep apnea symptoms. You’ll find that you sleep better and feel well-rested. Additionally, oral appliance therapy helps protect your brain by managing your sleep apnea and stabilizing your blood oxygenation levels.

What should I do if I think I have sleep apnea?

If you think that you have sleep apnea or you have been told that you snore, do not ignore your symptoms. We encourage you to schedule an evaluation with our sleep apnea dentists in Lake Forest. If it is determined that you could benefit from an official sleep study, our dentists will refer you to a specialist. And then work together to manage your condition with oral appliance therapy.

Sleep apnea screenings in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire

The time is now to receive a sleep apnea screening and find out if you could be at risk of a sleep-breathing disorder. Lake Forest Smiles provides oral appliance therapy to the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff areas. In many cases, insurance will help cover part or all of the cost of a sleep apnea oral appliance. Therefore, do not delay and contact Lake Forest Smiles at (847) 234-4800.

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