You already wake up feeling exhausted every morning, despite your “full night of rest.” Then your partner complains about how they could hardly sleep because of your abnormal snoring. What could be causing you and your partner’s sleeping habits to suffer?
Believe it or not, it could be from obstructive sleep apnea. Let’s take a deeper look at sleep apnea with your dentist in Fort Worth to get a better understanding of the disorder and how to treat it.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
An estimated 24 million Americans suffer from sleep-disordered breathing, 1 in 5 adults actually having obstructive sleep apnea—a potentially deadly sleeping disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea (the most common type of sleep apnea) is a condition that causes your airway to become blocked while you’re sleeping. This leads to pauses in breathing or very shallow breaths while you sleep.
Your bed partner may notice some of these symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea:
- Loud, chronic snoring
- A dry throat in the morning
- Choking or gasping while sleeping
- Mood changes
- Inability to focus
- Decreased sex drive
What are the health risks associated with sleep apnea?
When breathing is interrupted, the lack of oxygen makes your brain suddenly send emergency signals to the rest of your body. These signals force your body to jolt awake just long enough to clear your airway.
Even though this can happen literally to 400 times a night, most patients hardly remember waking up. These jolts interrupt your critical sleep cycle, also creating health complications and risks:
- Severe morning headaches
- Heart disease
- Weight gain
- Memory issues
- Fatigue and daytime exhaustion
- Depression and anxiety
Are you a high-risk sleep apnea patient?
Although age can be a determining factor for sleep apnea development, it isn’t the only factor. There are some factors that increase this risk:
- Age– People age 40 and over are at higher risk.
- Obesity– An obstruction of breathing can be caused by fat deposits around the upper airway.
- Being male– Obstructive sleep apnea is more likely to occur in males than females.
- Family history -The risk of developing sleep apnea is greater for people who have other family members with this condition.
- Alcohol use– This type of beverage relaxes the throat muscles.
- Smoking– Smoking can cause inflammation and fluid retention in the airway.
- Neck circumference– The airway may become narrower with a thicker neck.
- Narrowed airway– Enlarged adenoids or tonsils or a naturally narrow throat.
- Nasal congestion -If you have difficulty breathing through your nose, your chances of developing OSA is greater.
If you’re interested in receiving more details on sleep apnea or how to receive help for this disorder, reach out to a friendly dentist in Fort Worth.
About the Doctors
You may be thinking, why would I want to speak to a dentist about obstructive sleep apnea? The truth is that dental experts like Dt. Stovall, Dr. Cheng, and Dr. Thorburn are the best professionals for any issue regarding your head, neck, or mouth—and that includes your airways. These parts of your body are intimately connected and our office uses modern tools and technology to provide solutions for patients in need. If you would like to speak to one of our helpful dentists about your disorder, feel free to call Hulen Dental.