Does Sleep Apnea Increase Cholesterol?
Sleep is essential to your overall health. Your ability to stay alert and maintain energy for daily duties is directly affected by your quality of rest. If you’re not getting enough sleep or your quality of sleep is poor, you might be sleep-deprived. Although each person may require a different amount of sleep, studies have proven that getting less sleep than you need is detrimental to your health. In some cases poor sleep may actually be caused by a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). An astounding 18 million Americans suffer from this condition, and less than 10% are diagnosed according to the National Sleep Foundation.
OSA is often associated with loud snoring, daytime fatigue, morning headaches, weight gain, high blood pressure, acid reflux, and even heart disease. Studies are also showing a correlation between untreated OSA and cholesterol.
A German study looked at over 400 patients with varying degrees of OSA and concluded that the more severe the OSA, the lower the HDL and higher the triglyceride levels. A second German study followed 86 patients and found that after treatment for OSA, HDL levels rose. In the following year, a Greek study also showed that after OSA patients received treatment that their overall cholesterol lowered, and HDL levels increased.
An older study, but one of the largest, examined the health histories of 6,000 persons and found that persons with obstructive sleep apnea tested higher for LDL cholesterol and triglycerides of similar body mass who did not suffer from sleep apnea, according to the report published in the December 1997 issue of “Sleep.”
The combination of untreated OSA and high cholesterol can put you at risk for a heart attack or stroke. If you or someone you know suffers from poor sleep, has high cholesterol, or any of the symptoms associated with OSA it is important that he/she consults their physician to rule out sleep apnea. Diagnosing sleep apnea can only be done through an overnight sleep study either in a lab or at your home through a home sleep study. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes such as losing weight or sleeping on your side, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), surgery, or oral appliance therapy.
Oral appliance therapy is covered by most medical insurances and Medicare. For more information on oral appliance therapy contact a qualified Koala® Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders dentist near you.