Young Veterans Are Prone to Higher Risk of Sleep Apnea with PTSD

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Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition that is often diagnosed after a traumatic event. PTSD can itself lead to many other health conditions, including sleep apnea and depression. There are several dental procedures and techniques that can be used to treat sleep apnea that could have resulted from PTSD.

Research Findings
A recent sleep apnea study, performed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, found that almost 70% of the 195 veterans who were patients at the VA, were more likely to be diagnosed with sleep apnea if they had severe symptoms associated with PTSD. This was especially true for young veterans, who had already received a PTSD diagnosis.

Dental Management of PTSD
It’s important for dental professionals to be aware of the known triggers of PTSD for individual patients through their medical history, before beginning their treatment for sleep apnea. This step helps to minimize the possibility of triggering a fresh episode of PTSD, during the sleep apnea treatment. Also, a good dentist-patient relationship can help the dentists detect the symptoms of PTSD in patients for referring them to mental health professionals. Proper dental care can help to treat sleep apnea and many other disorders that often disrupt a PTSD patient’s life.

The Prevalence of PTSD
While PTSD is associated with many service-oriented professions, veterans who spent one or more deployments in Iraq or Afghanistan showed an increased risk of almost 48%. Patients who receive quality medical attention, including proper dental care, are more likely to be able to keep conditions like sleep apnea under control.

Sleep apnea that isn’t properly controlled can have a devastating impact on a PTSD patient. Patients who have PTSD can treat their sleep apnea and possibly bring it under control through the use of various dental procedures. Regular dental checkups can improve a person’s general health, while at the same time addressing many problems that PTSD patients often experience.

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Dr. Steffany Mohan is the Owner of Plaza Dental Group and is a leading dentist in Des Moines, Iowa. Dr. Mohan is an expert in implant, family and cosmetic dentistry, is Invisalign certified and has gained a reputation of excellence in the dentistry community.

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