While sleep apnea and snoring can happen to anyone, there are certain risk factors that make you more likely to suffer from this disorder. If you have these sleep apnea risk factors in Owen’s Cross Roads, AL – especially if you have multiple – you should seek treatment for sleep apnea. If you have a combination of risk factors and sleep apnea symptoms, it’s even more important.
The longer you put off help for your sleep apnea, the more likely you are to experience secondary health issues connected with sleep apnea. These can be severe, and in the most serious cases, they can lead to death.
Am I at High Risk for Sleep Apnea?
There are many different factors that can increase your risk for sleep apnea. For starters, it can be part of your family history. If you know of family members that suffer from sleep apnea, it’s more likely that you’ll suffer from it as well. Men are also more likely than women to have sleep apnea.
Being overweight, obese, or having a larger neck circumference can all make you more susceptible, as can large tonsils. All of these things involve more excess tissue in your throat, making it more likely for these tissues to block your airway. When you’re overweight, you also lack muscle tone, which is an additional risk factor.
Due to the lack of muscle tone, you’re more likely to have sleep apnea if you’re over the age of 45, too. As we age, our muscle tone starts to deteriorate. This makes it harder for our bodies to do even simple tasks, like sleep. The tongue muscle weakens and it’s more likely to relax into the back of your throat.
Hypertension, high blood pressure, and diabetes go hand in hand with sleep apnea. You’re both more likely to have sleep apnea if you have these problems, and more likely to develop these problems if you have sleep apnea.
Treating Sleep Apnea
If you’re experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, it’s important that you raise the issue with your dentist. In addition to symptoms involving breathing and sleep, you may be able to see it in your teeth as well. People with sleep apnea are more likely to grind and clench their teeth. Your teeth may be worn down more quickly or chipped and cracked.
At our office, you can get all of your care under one roof. We provide a full oral exam in our office. Restorative dental care can help teeth that have suffered from teeth grinding. Tooth bonding, dental crowns, and other offerings can take care of these dental problems.
In addition, we offer oral appliance therapy (OAT) to take care of sleep apnea. Oral appliances are more comfortable to sleep in than the traditional method of sleep apnea treatment, a CPAP machine. The appliance is simply like wearing a small mouthguard or nightguard.
OAT works by the appliance positioning your jaw in a way that keeps an open airflow. The airway is kept open and the tongue doesn’t collapse into the back of the throat during sleep. It’s a cost-effective treatment that’s covered by most insurance. Oral appliances are better for travel and a more discreet way to treat your sleep apnea.
The Dangers of Sleep Apnea
You may not think that snoring is such a big deal, but it can be extremely dangerous. For starters, you’re more tired throughout the day. Not getting proper sleep can impact you throughout the rest of the day. This includes possibly falling asleep in places like work or in the car.
Sleep apnea can also make you more likely to develop conditions like heart attacks, strokes, or high blood pressure. If sleep apnea is bad enough, it can even lead to asphyxiation and death. You’re irritable, may suffer from depression and mood swings, and can gain weight unexpectedly. Sleep apnea impacts your overall quality of life, even at its mildest.
Talk to Dr. Duling About Your Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
If you think you’re at a higher risk for sleep apnea, we can help. Talk to Dr. Duling about your concerns and symptoms. We can help create a personalized treatment plan for your sleep apnea. Call us or schedule an appointment online to get started.