Dr. Mark A Cruz, renowned dentist of Dana Point, is the co-developer of an informative lecture series entitled “Airway Focused Dentistry Mini Residency.” In one of the sessions, Dr. Steven Y. Park discussed the association between stress and obstructive sleep apnea.
The stress of struggling to breathe
We tend to think of sleep as our time to escape the stresses of daily life. However, for individuals suffering from sleep disordered breathing, it can be one of the most significant contributors to chronic stress.
Oxygen deprivation during sleep triggers adrenalin release
Sleep disordered breathing overstimulates the nervous system
The effects of inadequate sleep, such as difficulty focusing, increase the stress of daily life
The physical effects of stress
Stress causes a number of physiological reactions. Dr. Park used the example of visiting a zoo. If a lion were to suddenly escape and run your direction, your natural “fight or flight” instincts would take over. Your heart and lung activity would increase, adrenaline would be released in your brain, and the blood flow to your muscles would increase. Meanwhile, blood flow to areas such as the skin and digestive system would reduce. Certain processes, such as digestion, would slow.
While these processes may be helpful in the presence of genuine physical danger, they can also be harmful when experienced daily. The effects may manifest as digestive problems, frequent headaches, illnesses, or many other symptoms. Dr. Park also discussed one popular theory that chronic stress is a causative factor in autoimmune disease, because it hyper-stimulates the nervous system.
Changing the paradigm
Airway Focused Dentistry Mini Residency is part of an ongoing effort by Dr. Cruz, Dr. Park and many of their colleagues who are dedicated to changing the way that sleep disordered breathing is diagnosed and treated. For an appointment with Dr. Cruz, please call (949) 661-1006.