(949) 661-1006
32241 Crown Valley Parkway #200
Dana Point, CA 92629 | Directions
Airway Focused Dentistry Logo
32241 Crown Valley Parkway #200
Dana Point, CA 92629 | Directions

Doctor explains how sleep apnea costs lives

Posted by

Doctor Explains How Sleep Apnea Costs Lives from Dr. Mark, Mark A Cruz DDS
Interruptions in breathing during sleep can have devastating effects on the body, possibly leading to death. During a session of the Airway Focused Dentistry Mini-Residency, Dr. Bertrand De Silva discussed the potentially deadly impacts of untreated apnea. The course was co-developed by Dana Point Dentist Dr. Mark A Cruz.

The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems

The sympathetic system responds to danger and prepares a body for physical activity. The parasympathetic system serves the opposite function, relaxing the body. There is normally a mild oscillation between these systems, with the sympathetic system being more predominant in waking hours and the parasympathetic system being more predominant during sleep.

What happens when a person chokes during sleep?

The sympathetic nervous system responds to the danger of decreasing oxygen by increasing output and releasing adrenaline. The parasympathetic system responds by increasing its output, keeping the person asleep. The cycle continues, creating severe instability between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, which leads to problems such as cardiac instability.

The potential effects of this instability include:
  • High blood pressure
  • High heart rate
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Increased cortisol levels
  • Weight gain
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Fatigue
  • Sudden death
An influential study, which was published in the Los Angeles Times and Journal of Cardiology, compared the mortality of groups with and without sleep apnea. Dr. De Silva explained that the study was intended to last for ten years. However, after only four years, the evidence was so compelling that researchers chose to publish it immediately. Researchers found that individuals with sleep apnea die sooner. According to the article, “It removes any reasonable doubt that sleep apnea is a fatal disease."

Dr. Cruz and Dr. De Silvia are among a group of medical professionals who are dedicated to saving lives, and improving quality of life, among people affected by sleep apnea.

Related Articles

« Back to Sleep Disordered Breathing home page

Make an Appointment with
Dr. Mark Cruz


DR. Cruz's Video Blog


Mark A Cruz DDS
RATING 5 Mark A Cruz DDS - reviews
I've been going to Dr. Cruz for 21 years... you wont find a dentist, or someone from ANY profession for that matter, who has a higher level of attention to detail.

Thank you Dr. Cruz for being awesome!


Dentist Serving Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, Laguna Beach,
Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, San Juan &
South Orange County
since 1986