Salt Intake and Sleep Apnea?

Friday, November 8th, 2013, 10:38 pm

Brazilian researchers are looking at a possible link between excess salt intake and obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing during sleep.

The researchers theory is that excess salt intake during the day leads to fluid buildup in the body. They feel that this excess fluid shifts to the sleeper’s neck when they are lying down and narrows the upper airway, causing the snoring and sleep apnea.

To test this theory they are having patients take diuretic pills, eat a low salt diet or have no treatment. The sleep of the study participants will be monitored for apnea events. “The idea is that these treatments will reduce the swelling around the throat and thus reduce the snoring and sleep apnea. The diuretic will, however cause more visits to the toilet during the night and thus create another for of sleep disturbance,” said Jim Horn of Loughborough University. Research on heart failure patients at the University of Toronto had previously found that reducing dietary salt had a positive effect on sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea affects about 5 to 10 percent of Americans and the number is growing, partly because of the obesity epidemic. Left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to heart attack, stroke or even sudden death.

Treatment with a CPAP machine is the normal protocol for these patients but about half of sufferers cannot sleep with the machines. For these patients an oral appliance, created and adjusted properly by a sleep apnea dentist can stop the snoring and keep them breathing throughout the night. Most patients find oral appliances comfortable and easy to use and the compliance rates are much higher than for CPAP.

Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today to schedule your sleep apnea consultation. We can be reached at 706-886-9439.

 

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