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Does Sleep Apnea Accelerate the Aging Process?

May 5, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drflenniken @ 6:30 pm
Young woman and older woman standing back-to-back

Most people are eager to stay as youthful as possible for as long as possible. To that end, they may take supplements, use high-quality skincare products, and frequent their local gym. But did you know that the quality of your sleep can play a big role in the aging process? This blog post explores how sleep apnea may accelerate the aging process and the steps you can take to turn back the clock.

Sleep Apnea and Aging: What the Research Says

There are two ways to measure aging. Chronological age involves basic math; it is simply the number of years that have passed since you were born. Biological age is different. It measures cellular age. It reflects how lifestyle choices and medical factors affect the body’s overall aging process.

Recent research from the University of Missouri School of Medicine used blood tests to determine the biological age of 16 patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). They found that patients with poor-quality sleep showed greater signs of accelerated biological aging.

Throughout the one-year test, the study participants underwent treatment for their OSA. They used a CPAP machine to keep their airway open and prevent the pauses in breathing that are the main symptom of OSA. At the conclusion of the test period, the participants took another blood test. It revealed a deceleration of biological aging in the patients who complied with their CPAP treatment protocol.

Why Does Sleep Apnea Accelerate Aging?

Sleep apnea reduces blood oxygen levels, which can affect how the body functions from head to toe. It seems that this reduction in oxygen can be a key contributor to accelerated aging in individuals with obstructive sleep apnea.

Do You Need Sleep Apnea Treatment?

Millions of Americans have OSA, but sadly, many cases remain undiagnosed. Here are some indications that you may have this condition:

  • Your partner complains that you snore loudly and frequently.
  • You always feel exhausted despite spending 7 – 8 hours asleep.
  • You experience irritability and mood swings.
  • It is difficult for you to concentrate.
  • You often wake up with a headache or sore throat.
  • You wake up gasping for air.

If you think you might have OSA, you should ask your doctor to arrange a sleep test for you. Then, you can consider your treatment options. CPAP therapy is popular, but it is uncomfortable for many patients. You might find that a custom oral appliance from a sleep dentist is more convenient.

Sleep problems could make you age faster! Fortunately, effective treatment options are available.

Meet the Practice

Dr. Suzan Rismani-Flenniken is one of several talented dentists on our team. She has extensive training in oral sleep appliance therapy and is proud to help patients achieve higher-quality sleep. If you have been struggling to feel well-rested lately, she and our team would be happy to guide you on your next steps. Contact Flenniken Family Dentistry in Carlisle at 717-249-7777.

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