If you repeatedly wake up feeling unrested or have a partner explaining how you’ve kept them up again with raucous snoring, it might be time to have your sleep assessed.
Sleep apnea is a condition that can have some serious consequences. It is marked by breathing difficulties during sleep, which can lead to lower oxygen levels in the body, inflammation, oxidative stress, and shortened breathing patterns. It is closely associated with high blood pressure and risks to heart health.
Now new data is suggesting it could contribute to weaker bones and teeth.
Low-bone mineral density is an indicator of osteoporosis and can increase the risk of fractures and cause teeth to become loose and dental implants to fail.
Researchers from the University of Buffalo in New York recently made the discovery. They used cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) – a type of x-ray – to measure bone density in the heads and necks of 38 adults, half of which had sleep apnea.
The scans found that people with sleep apnea had significantly lower bone mineral density than the participants without the condition. It is possible that the symptoms of sleep apnea may have a chronic effect on bone metabolism and, eventually, bone density.
This is only the beginning stage of looking at the potential impact of sleep apnea on bone and tooth health, and more are likely to follow. The results are also observational, meaning that it does not prove that sleep apnea necessarily causes weaker bones and teeth.
Sleep apnea is also associated with being overweight, which may indicate poor nutritional habits and added stress on bones, which can contribute to weakness.
In any event, it is possible that weak bones and teeth could be yet another complication of sleep apnea. If you don’t seem to be sleeping well, indicated by fatigue during the day, go for a sleep assessment. Dealing with it may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and more.