At B & D Dental Excellence, we are very passionate about using the power of dentistry to protect and improve the general health of our patients. One of the ways we do this is through the treatment of gum disease, but we also help people by treating sleep apnea, which has numerous effects on the health of your entire body. Now, recently presented data reasserts the strong connection between sleep apnea and kidney disease.

A Survey-Based Study

Illustration of the kidney anatomyIn this study, researchers gave screening questionnaires for sleep apnea risk to 56 patients who had both diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD). They found that 61% of these patients were at an elevated risk for sleep apnea, and that those who had an elevated sleep apnea risk also had significantly worse kidney function than those who had low risk.

We have to be cautious about this study’s results because the researchers used a questionnaire screening tool rather than an actual sleep test, but the connection is still an important one.

Diabetes, Sleep Apnea, and Kidney Disease

In healthy kidneys, the blood passes through filters, separating out small molecules–waste products to be excreted in urine–from cells and large molecules that are supposed to be retained in the blood. In CKD, the filters become damaged and the kidneys let vital molecules pass through, which can damage the urinary tract and depletes the blood of vital components.

There are many potential links between sleep apnea and CKD. One of the strongest is diabetes. Diabetes is common in people with sleep apnea, and there is evidence that sleep apnea is an independent risk factor for diabetes because of the way it interferes with the body’s metabolism. Sleep apnea makes it harder for diabetics to control their blood sugar, and elevated blood sugar levels are bad for the kidneys. Elevated blood sugar can lead to scarring in the kidneys, which makes them less effective filters.

High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease

Sleep apnea also contributes to high blood pressure. High blood pressure accelerates damage to the kidneys because it drives cells and molecules harder against the filters, causing them to wear out faster.

Sleep apnea not only causes high blood pressure, it may be the primary risk factor for high blood pressure that doesn’t respond to medication, which means that sufferers are more likely to suffer kidney damage.

Treat a Cornerstone Illness

The good news is that sleep apnea is very treatable. And if you get your sleep apnea treated, it becomes easier to address the other causes that contribute to kidney damage.

If you would like to learn more about nonsurgical, comfortable, and convenient sleep apnea treatment in Rockland County, please call (845) 627-7645 for an appointment at B & D Dental Excellence in West Nyack.