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[updated August 2019]

Sleep apnea involves more than a little snoring at night and affects more than 22 million Americans. This serious condition can lead to significant health complications, including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a widespread condition that deprives many people of the restful sleep they need to function properly throughout the day. When you have sleep apnea, it means that you stop breathing momentarily numerous times while you are sleeping. When you wake up, you may feel fatigued and sluggish. Having sleep apnea can make it difficult for you to focus while you’re at work, and it can even raise your chances of getting into an auto accident. If you think that you might have sleep apnea, it’s important that you get tested for the condition. To learn more about sleep apnea, watch this video clip.

Treating Sleep Apnea

Although you may not immediately think of your dentist as the obvious choice for treating a sleep problem, the solution to your sleep apnea could be one dental appointment away.

Oral appliances for sleep apnea can help you break the cycle of sleep disturbances without the need for CPAP treatment. Oral sleep appliances work by gently moving your jaw and tongue into healthier positions while you rest and can be much more comfortable than other sleep apnea treatments for many patients.

Learn more about oral sleep apnea treatments in this infographic from Smiles@Southcenter and keep reading below the infographic for more information about sleep apnea. We provide a full range of dental services, including sleep apnea devices in Renton. Please help family and friends who are suffering from this dangerous condition by sharing this information.

Solving sleep apnea

How Does Sleep Apnea Cause Cardiovascular Problems?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can have many potential consequences for your health and well-being. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, having it treated with a custom-fitted oral device can help to protect you from a number of serious health issues. You may already know that sleep apnea can harm your quality of sleep and lead to chronic fatigue. What many people do not realize, however, is that sleep apnea can raise your risk of cardiovascular problems. These are some of the issues that untreated sleep apnea can make you more vulnerable to:

High Blood Pressure

People who have sleep apnea briefly stop breathing while they are unconscious. When this happens, it means that they are not getting their normal level of oxygen at night. As the level of oxygen in your blood decreases, your blood vessels must work harder to pump enough oxygen to your heart. This causes your blood pressure to increase, which puts your health at risk.

Irregular Heartbeat

A recent study found that having untreated sleep apnea can raise a person’s likelihood of developing an irregular heartbeat, a condition characterized by an abnormal beating of the heart. Having an irregular heartbeat, in turn, can make you much more likely to suffer a stroke, experience heart failure, and develop other serious health problems.

Heart Failure

Heart failure happens when a person’s heart can’t pump blood at the necessary rate to keep the body supplied with oxygen. People who have untreated sleep apnea are more likely than other people to develop high blood pressure, which can make them more vulnerable to heart failure. If you have any of the symptoms of sleep apnea—such as snoring, insomnia, or chronic daytime fatigue—you should have the condition diagnosed by a professional as soon as possible so that you can begin treatment and protect your health.

What is the Link Between Atrial Fibrillation and Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common disorder that causes a person to temporarily stop breathing periodically throughout the night. If it goes untreated, sleep apnea can lead to chronic daytime drowsiness. Worse, it can raise your risk of major health complications such as atrial fibrillation, a form of irregular heartbeat that can make a person more vulnerable to stroke, heart disease, and other serious issues. Watch this video to learn more about the link between sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation.

Unfortunately, since it happens while you’re asleep, identifying sleep apnea can be tricky. If you often wake up with a headache, feel unusually tired throughout the day, or have a partner who notices that you are snoring unusually loudly, you may want to get tested for sleep apnea.

About the Author – Dr. Thuy Nguyen, DDS

Dr. Thuy Nguyen DDS in Tukwila, WA holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology and received a Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Washington. In 2011, she also completed the Progressive Orthodontic Program. She is known for her fine work and a friendly and caring attitude. Her enthusiasm for dentistry is contagious, as she designs and improves smile after smile. Dr. Nguyen is bilingual in English and Vietnamese. She maintains memberships to the Seattle King County Dental Association, The Washington State Dental Association, and The American Dental Association.


Whiteman, Honor. Obstructive sleep apnea might lead to an irregular heartbeat. Medical News Today, May 23, 2017.

Sleep Apnea, National Sleep Foundation.