Three Good Reasons To Stick With Your Sleep Apnea Treatment
Most patients are pretty good about adhering to their sleep apnea treatment after they're first diagnosed. You've probably been suffering from poor sleep for a while, and when you first start using the medication or oral breathing devices prescribed to you, you feel so much better. After a few months of treatment, however, you get used to feeling good again and may forget the importance of sticking with your sleep apnea treatment regimen. Even though you're feeling better, it's not wise to skip pills or sleep without your machine. Here's why:
Not keeping up with treatment may increase your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Studies have shown that sleep apnea increases a patient's risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. Both of these conditions make you more prone to stroke and heart attack than the average person. You wouldn't stop taking a heat disease medication your doctor prescribed to you, would you? Don't stop your sleep apnea treatment either if you want to keep your heart healthy. Think of it as just as important as getting exercise or avoiding fatty meals.
Sleepiness during the day has real consequences.
You might think the only consequence you suffer when you forget to use your breathing machine is a bit of sleepiness during the day, but what about the consequences of that sleepiness? Your work productivity decreases when you don't sleep well, which may lead to poor reviews on the job. Sleepiness also puts you at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel or making poor judgements in your personal life because you were too tired to carefully think through your decisions.
Breathing through your mouth is not good for your teeth.
Many patients with sleep apnea breath through their mouths at night when they're not utilizing their treatments properly. Mouth breathing has many long-term dental side effects, such as an increased risk of gingivitis and tooth decay. People who breath through their mouths also tend to have bad breath and tonsil issues. Dentists can identify mouth breathers by examining their teeth! It's probably more pleasant to use your sleep apnea machine than it is to be fitted with dentures at age 50, so stick your your treatment.
Sleep apnea can be pretty debilitating, but after you've been in treatment and your symptoms have subsided, it's easy to slowly backslide and let your treatment wane. Don't follow this path -- it's paved with lasting consequences like heart disease and tooth decay.