The risks of untreated sleep apnea

HEALTH – One of the purposes of St. George Health & Wellness Magazine in cooperation with St. George News is to introduce the community to resources and providers that promote health and wellness. We recently caught up with Bret Jorgensen and Dr. Shad Morris of Premier Sleep Solutions the other day to ask them some questions regarding sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to all of your organs including your heart and brain.

What are the some of the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea?

In addition to snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea can cause memory loss, morning headaches, irritability, depression, decreased sex drive and impaired concentration. It also can cause relationship problems.

What happens during an apnea event?

People with sleep apnea may snore loudly and stop breathing for short periods of time. When the blood-oxygen level drops low enough, the body momentarily wakes up to breath. It can happen so fast that you may not be aware you woke up. This can happen hundreds of times a night, and you may wake up in the morning feeling unrefreshed.

What are the dangers of Sleep apnea? 

Sufferers of sleep apnea have a much higher risk of stroke and heart problems, such as heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension. Sleep apnea patients are also more likely to be involved in an accident at the workplace or while driving. Sleep apnea is also linked to cognitive conditions such as dementia. Obstructive sleep apnea is rather common and potentially a life-threatening medical disorder that prevents airflow during sleep. More than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and many are not receiving treatment.

What kind of people experience sleep apnea?

Although a number of risk factors lead to sleep apnea, such as older adults or obesity, men and women of any age or body type can experience sleep apnea. Many people don’t know that most insurance companies will cover treatment when diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.

What kind of treatment does Dr. Morris provide?


Shad Morris, a doctor of dental medicine, has been providing successful oral appliance therapy treatment for the last eight years in Southern Utah.  Oral appliances are a front-line treatment for snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. This small plastic device fits in the mouth during sleep like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. Oral appliances help prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat, keeping the airway open during sleep and promoting adequate air intake. Oral appliances may be used alone or in combination with other treatments for sleep-related breathing disorders, such as weight management, surgery or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Other treatments available are CPAP therapy and upper airway surgery provided by an Ear Nose Throat physician.


Shad Morris at Premier Sleep Solutions at 435-674-2100






Ed. Note: This feature reflects professional contributions. It should neither be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for medical diagnosis, nor as an endorsement by St. George News of the contributor.

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Copyright St. George News, Inc., and St. George Health and Wellness magazine, 2013, all rights reserved.

Sleep Apnea

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