The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that releases hormones that control a large number of bodily functions, including metabolism, body temperature, mood, and more. But did you know that a poorly-functioning thyroid can also contribute to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea? This condition affects an estimated 22 million Americans and increases the risk of many serious diseases. In this blog, you’ll learn more about the link between the thyroid and sleep apnea in Pasadena, and how a dentist can help with both diagnosis and treatment. Find out more below!
How Does Sleep Apnea Affect Your General Health?
Sleep apnea occurs when someone’s breathing continually starts and stops during sleep. This prevents people from getting the deep, restful sleep they need and impacts their health in many ways.
In fact, some doctors estimate that sleep apnea triples a person’s risk of death because it increases their chance of:
- Heart attack
- Mood disorders such as depression
- Impaired memory and decreased cognitive function
- High blood pressure
What’s the Connection Between the Thyroid and Sleep Apnea?
The thyroid gland can be overactive or underactive, either of which can disturb your sleep in different ways:
- Hyperthyroidism – When the thyroid produces too much hormone, it can make someone feel jittery and restless, eventually leading to insomnia and inadequate sleep.
- Hypothyroidism – When the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormone, everything in the body slows down, causing fatigue and lethargy. It can also lead to sleep apnea because it enlarges the tongue and disrupts the muscles of the upper airway.
How Can a Dentist Help With Diagnosis and Treatment of Sleep Apnea?
If you have thyroid issues and think you may also have sleep apnea, the first step is getting a diagnosis. A dentist who provides sleep apnea therapy will start by discussing your symptoms and doing an exam before referring you for a sleep study.
Fortunately, people with sleep apnea have more treatment options today than ever before, including simple oral appliances that are custom-made by a dentist. These lightweight, portable devices work by repositioning the jaws to open the airway.
With an oral appliance, you’ll get better sleep, improve your quality of life, and stay healthier at the same time!
About the Author
Dr. Linda Sierra is a family dentist with nearly 40 years of experience, and a graduate of the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. She has a special interest in sleep apnea therapy because she knows how much it can improve her patients’ general health and overall quality of life. If you have any other questions about your thyroid and sleep apnea in Pasadena, she can be reached via her website.