Is Sleep Apnea a Symptom Of a 24 Hour Issue?
The Sunday New York Times had a front section article in the National News section. Its title was A Focus on Elderly Minds. The introduction to the article was as follows A growing number of experts are calling for integrating mental health professionals into all levels of communities for the rising population of aging Americans, particularly in Florida, to help deal with depression, anxiety and sleep disorders also accompanying old age.
A Google search on medical conditions associated with obstructive sleep apnea shows
Effects on the heart and circulation
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Ischemic heart disease (poor blood flow to the heart)
Irregular heart rate
Other medical conditions associated with apneas include
Seizures, epilepsy, and other nerve disorders
Eye disorders, including glaucoma, floppy eyelid syndrome, optic neuropathy
Psychological effects include
Depression, which increases with the severity of the sleep apnea
Worsening of nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder
Worsening of ADHD
In prior articles, I have described the hypothesis that obstructive sleep apnea is a round-the-clock condition of impaired oral function during sleep. The mouth houses the tongue, the dynamic component of an otherwise relatively static airway.
The tongue plays the primary role in controlling the size and contours of the airway in the area we know as the throat. And the shape, size and position of the jaws, teeth and gums control the posture, contour and position of the tongue.
The body is always functioning according to the priorities of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the order of airway, breathing and circulation (A-B-C). The body also maintains balance and homeostasis through the autonomic nervous system.
Any threat to A-B-C triggers the fight or flight response to survive. In the case of the airway, there are three adaptive body compensations for a partially or fully blocked throat
Increased state of fight or flight as in an adrenaline response
Postural changes that often appear to be characterized by forward head posture
Clenching and grinding of the teeth, leading to most TMJ symptoms
The impact is both immediate and chronic. The wear and tear on our body and subsequent effect on all body systems is enormous. The various conditions noted above are just a few examples of them.