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How Sleep Apnea Weakens Your Immune System

February 28, 2019

Filed under: Uncategorized — drmogell @ 1:29 pm
woman with cold

There are lots of things you can do on a daily basis to help your immune system function at its best. Eating a healthy diet with lots of antioxidants and exercising regularly can both go a long way toward helping you avoid that cold that’s going around the office. But what if you strive to live a healthy lifestyle but still find that you’re frequently ill? Sleep apnea in Vero Beach might be to blame.

Sleep and Your Immune System

Cytokines are an essential part of the human immune system. They’re a specific type of protein that targets inflammation and infection. Your body produces them and releases them when you’re asleep. Getting enough sleep also encourages your body to produce adequate levels of infection-fighting antibodies. Therefore, sleep is vital in both fighting illness and preventing it altogether.

Sleep can even make vaccines more effective. For example, when you get the flu shot, your body responds by producing antibodies to fight the flu. It may not be able to produce enough of those antibodies to keep you from coming down with the flu if you aren’t getting an adequate amount of rest.

Sleep Apnea: A Danger to Your Immune System

Your body does most of its restorative work — including producing cytokines and antibodies — when you’re in the deeper phases of sleep. If you have sleep apnea, you may seldom if ever reach those deeper phases because obstruction in your airway causes you to temporary stop breathing throughout the night. These disruptions in the sleep cycle mean that your body’s immune system doesn’t have the opportunity it needs to prevent and fight infectious diseases as well as it should.

Sadly, quite a few people with sleep apnea do not even realize they have a problem, especially if they do not have a partner to tell them that they snore loudly or frequently make gasping noises during the night. If you are often tired, sometimes wake up gasping for air, or regularly wake up with a headache or sore throat, those are good signs that you should seek help. Sleep testing in Vero Beach can provide you with an official diagnosis. The test, which monitors your breathing for a night, may take place in your home or in a dedicated sleep laboratory.

Treating Sleep Apnea Boosts Health

After you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, a sleep medicine expert can design a treatment plan to improve the quality of your nightly shuteye. Many patients find that a custom-made oral appliance, which repositions the jaw to allow for easier breathing, is a convenient and effective way to address sleep apnea. After your treatment begins, you may just find that you have to take fewer sick days off of work!

About the Author

Dr. Kenneth Mogell is an experienced dentist and a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. He has helped countless patients in Vero Beach to reclaim their sleep and enjoy healthier, fuller lives. If you are struggling with sleep apnea and would like to speak to Dr. Mogell about your condition, contact us today.

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