Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) creates many risks you might be unaware of, so it is important to schedule an appointment if you feel persistently tired, have trouble sleeping, or find it difficult to concentrate during the day.

Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea

About 9% of women and 24% of men have sleep apnea but only about 15-20% of them are diagnosed. The percentage of women with sleep apnea goes up after menopause and even children can have OSA, the most common form of sleep apnea.

Why is Sleep Apnea Not Diagnosed?

OSA is not easy to detect for oneself or at a routine doctor’s appointment, since symptoms occur only when you are sleeping. Additionally, most people with OSA have other medical conditions that pose a more immediate threat, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, dementia, stroke, and insomnia. Symptoms of OSA, like snoring, depression, dry mouth, headaches, fatigue, and sore throat are also common with other symptoms; this makes sleep apnea easy to miss.

Dr. Steven Wilk is a three-time board certified D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) based in Denver, CO. He is known for his use of oral appliance therapy to effectively treat sleep apnea and snoring as an alternative to CPAP. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University, he attended…

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Costly Expense of Undiagnosed OSA

When OSA is not diagnosed, you may be left paying for unnecessary tests and medications as you try to find a remedy for your unclassified symptoms. Some of these medications can even make sleep apnea worse; for example, if your insomnia is caused by OSA and you are prescribed sleeping pills to treat the insomnia, this will make your sleep apnea worse. Similarly, you may be taking antidepressants when what actually needs to be treated is OSA. Additionally, OSA increases your risks for diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart attacks, dementia, and cancer so leaving this condition untreated can also make you unaware of those potential medical conditions. If you do develop these conditions, medical expenses will spike even more, and you may have to miss work which will simultaneously reduce your income.

Higher Risk of Accidents

OSA causes excessive sleepiness during the day, which can leave you susceptible to car and work-related accidents. Being tired limits your ability to focus and is often compared to being drunk when driving a car; those with untreated OSA are 2-3 times more likely to get into an accident. Similar rates have been seen for workplace accidents, even when the job does not involve driving.


This is an extremely well-organized office. You can tell that everyone acts as a team. Paperwork is prepared in advance. The dental technician is well trained and explains each procedure before she does it. It is obvious that the practice is the state of the art. Follow on appointments are made without delay. Doctor Wilk explains in detail the various options and allows you to make the best choice. I’m looking forward to the next appointment.

Excellent service every time! Attention to details, helpful and knowledgeable staff!

I was using a CPAP machine( which was very cumbersome ), until I visited Dr. Wilk two years ago, he fit me with a mouth appliance to substitute the CPAP machine. I was very skeptical at the beginning but it worked great with no discomfort, now I sleep and feel better, and when I travel I just take a small mouth guard case, so much more convenient. I highly recommend Dr. Wilk for his services, he and his staff are very professional and also very nice.

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Quality of Life

If you are chronically depressed, unable to concentrate, and constantly fatigued to the point where you have no energy, it is difficult to enjoy the activities you used to. Because of the risk of accidents, low productivity, or frequent absences, your career may be at risk as well as your social relationships. Your partner may be unable to sleep due to your snoring, which not only impacts your joint relationship and level of intimacy but also their sleep too. Not having enough energy can also make it difficult to enjoy time with friends, children, grandchildren, or other people in your life and this can be detrimental. A healthy, enjoyable social life has a significant impact on a healthy, happy mind.

Undiagnosed OSA Can Shorten Your Life

OSA is linked to brain damage, early-onset dementia, and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, all of which are life-threatening medical conditions. The reason for this is that sleep apnea leaves your brain starving for oxygen as you continually stop and restart your breathing during the night. OSA is also linked to many cardiovascular (heart) diseases such as high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, irregular heartbeat, and decreased blood flow to the heart. OSA has also been found to increase insulin resistance, which makes diabetes very common among those who suffer from sleep apnea.


To receive your diagnosis and learn more about a treatment plan for sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with Dr. Wilk at the Denver Sleep Apnea Center today.