How Sleep Apnea Contributes to Aging

September 6, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — healthsleeptul @ 8:48 am
picture of someone snoring

Sleep apnea is a condition that most people are vaguely aware exists, but radically underestimate the prevalence of. There are plenty of people who may be suffering from sleep apnea without even realizing it and may be dealing with negative consequences as a result.

For example, did you know that sleep apnea can make people age faster? As it turns out, there’s some solid evidence that this is the case. Here’s what you should know about the consequences of the condition, how you can know that you have it, and what can be done.

What Even Is Aging?

When you hear that something can make you age faster, it may not immediately be apparent what that means. While aging means something a little bit different to everyone, when scientists talk about it, they’re often referring to “biological age.”

As people get older, the genes in the body begin to fray and degrade. While it’s not one-to-one, this is foundational to a lot of the symptoms we associate with aging. This is inevitable as you get older, thought it happens at different rates for different people. By measuring the degradation of your genes, scientists can get a sense of how fast you’re “aging.”

Sleep Apnea, Aging, and Epigenetics

This is where sleep apnea comes in. According to a recent study from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep apnea was found to be heavily associated with accelerated biological aging.

Sleep apnea works kind of on a spectrum, where some people have it measurably worse than others. This is commonly measured via the apnea-hypopnea index. The study found that each standard deviation increase, i.e., for every significant jump in the severity of the sleep apnea, people experienced an extra 215 days of biological age acceleration.

This demonstrates that sleep apnea is incredibly hard on the body, and the worse yours is, the faster it may age you.

What to Do About Sleep Apnea

If you’re someone who snores often, or who can’t get restful sleep, you may have sleep apnea without even realizing it. If you suspect that may be the case, you should see a professional for a screening, either a sleep doctor or a dentist. They’ll be able to tell you a little bit more about the condition, and if you’re diagnosed by a sleep doctor, you can get either a CPAP machine or an oral appliance to address the condition.

About Our Practice

At Healthy Sleep, we know that nothing is more important than breathing, which is why we have created a practice tailored specifically toward helping patients navigate the stress and burden of sleep apnea. A good night’s sleep can be life-changing, which is why we are always on the lookout for the signs of sleep apnea in our patients and make dealing with the condition as easy as possible.

If you have any questions about sleep apnea, we can be reached at our website or by phone (918) 300-4325.

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