We continue to monitor new information related to dental sleep medicine and craniofacial pain. That is why I thought it was interesting to learn that obstructive sleep apnea doubles a person’s risk of sudden death. If that’s not enough to get you moving to offer dental sleep medicine in your practice, I don’t know what will. Recent research found that people living with obstructive sleep apnea are twice as likely to experience sudden death compared to those who are living without the condition. Let’s take a closer look.

Sleep apnea and sudden death

Researchers also found that obstructive sleep apnea increases a person’s risk of developing certain cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. Studying more than 42,000 patients worldwide, the researchers found that those with sleep apnea have a greater risk of dying suddenly from various causes, primarily cardiovascular death. This increases with age too.

While more studies are needed on this, the study found that obstructive sleep apnea is associated with several cardiovascular comorbidities, including hypertension, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. This is because patients with obstructive sleep apnea experience oxidative stress, which contributes to an imbalance of antioxidants in the body. Over time, this imbalance damages cells and can speed up the aging process while also leading to an array of health problems. 

In other words, this means dentists should take charge and begin offering dental sleep medicine services at their practices. We have the ability to help prevent further harm to our patients, so let’s take advantage of that.