Learn The Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea affects 18 million people in the United States, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
And yet, a majority of people with this condition are unaware that they have it. When they don’t know about it, they aren’t treating it either.
This matters because sleep apnea increases your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. It also increases your risk of being involved in an automobile accident.
If you suspect that you or someone you love might have sleep apnea, please contact Hubbard & Leath today and make an appointment as soon as possible.
We may be able to help, but even if we can’t, we want to point you in the right direction to deal with your sleep apnea and its symptoms.
What Are Sleep Apnea Symptoms?
We want to say from the outset that sleep apnea should be diagnosed by a professional after a sleep study. But how do you know if you should even ask about getting a sleep study?
Let’s consider some of the most common symptoms as identified by the Mayo Clinic.
Loud, frequent, and nearly constant snoring may be the first clue. If your snoring is so loud that it has woken up someone else or every yourself, then that is a good indication that you should talk to someone about treatment.
The second clue is one that you may not be aware of, but your spouse or partner probably is. People with sleep apnea frequently stop breathing throughout the night (more than 30 times per hour in severe cases).
At the same time, you may wake up often feeling like you are gasping for breath.
And last but not least, you fight daytime sleepiness often. This also helps to explain why untreated sleep apnea can lead to automobile accidents.
Any of the symptoms above are good reason to go through a sleep study to determine if you are struggling with sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.
Additional symptoms may include frequent morning headaches, irritability, and difficulty staying focused on a particular task.
What Factors Increase Your Risk Of Developing Sleep Apnea?
Some things you can control and some things you can’t. Either way, it’s important to be aware of what those risk factors are.
» Smoking — Smokers are three times more likely than nonsmokers to have sleep apnea.
» Being overweight — People who are considered obese based on their body weight and their build are four times more likely than other people to have sleep apnea.
To go along with that, you risk of having sleep apnea increases if you are male with at neck that is 17 inches or larger or you a female whose neck is 15 inches or larger.
» Having a narrow airway — This may just be part of your individual anatomy, or you this may be the result of your airways closing when you fall asleep. This can occur as the muscles in your neck relax and press into your airway.
» Family history — If sleep apnea runs in your family, then you are more likely to have it, too.
» Being male — This sleep disorder can affect anyone, but men are are twice as likely to develop this condition as females.
» Getting older — You can add sleep apnea to the ways your body may not work as well as it once did as a natural result of the aging process.
It’s important to keep in mind that sleep apnea can affect anyone, regardless of weight, age, gender, or health habits. The factors above only increase the likelihood that you as an individual may have sleep apnea.
Treating Sleep Apnea
At Hubbard & Leath Dental, we want to help you find the right solution to deal with your sleep apnea. This may mean getting a CPAP machine, or it may mean getting a special mouthguard that you wear while you sleep.
Both of these treatments can be effective. The key is finding the one that both works for you and you will use. If you don’t use your treatment, then you aren’t really doing anything about your sleep apnea.
By treating your sleep apnea, you will sleep better, and you will feel more refreshed during your day-to-day activities. You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones to find out if you have sleep apnea and to treat it for your sake and theirs.