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If you are reading this, you may be concerned that you or someone you love has sleep apnea.
You may have noticed the symptoms of sleep apnea already. These include loud snoring, irritability, persistent snoring, frequent daytime sleepiness, and (in case we forgot) constant snoring.
If you or someone you care about has or may have sleep apnea, please make plans to visit a Sunrise Dental office. We have four locations in Cary, Chapel Hill, Durham, and Raleigh. If you live anywhere in or near the Research Triangle, we are probably close.
While sleep apnea can affect anyone, some people are more likely to suffer from it than others. Keep reading to find out if you may be in one or more of these groups.
Who Is At Risk?
We want to stress that sleep apnea can affect anyone — children to adults. You can have sleep apnea regardless of your race, gender, and body type.
The American Sleep Apnea Association reports that most people with sleep apnea are unaware that they have it. As a result, million of people with sleep apnea are going untreated. We will explain why that’s a big problem a little later.
So who is most likely to have sleep apnea? According to the Mayo Clinic, these are factors that increase your odds of have this sleep disorder:
▸ Being overweight — If you are considered obese, you are four times more likely to have sleep apnea than other people. This can also affect neck circumference. Men with necks that are larger than 17 inches around and women with necks larger than 15 inches having greater risk.
▸ Having a narrow airway — The can happen for a number of reasons. You have have naturally narrow throat. Enlarged adenoids or tonsils all can restrict your breathing.
▸ Being a male over 40 — Men are twice as likely as women to develop sleep apnea, and that risk increases as you get older.
▸ Using alcohol and other substances — Alcohol and other substances like sedatives can relax the muscles in your throat, which can complicate your sleep apnea.
▸ Smoking — If you smoke, you are three times more likely to have sleep apnea than non-smokers. Smoking can cause inflammation of the tissues that can obstruct your airway.
▸ Having nasal congestion — This may be because of your particular anatomy or allergies. Either way, it can make it more difficult for you to breathe.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
You may have noticed that breathing was a common thread in the risk factor mentioned above.
People with sleep apnea have difficulty breathing when they fall asleep, and they will stop breathing multiple time every hour they are trying to sleep. For people with obstructive sleep apnea, this is caused by a physical blockage.
Those blockages amplify the sound of your or your loved one’s snoring until they cut off their air completely, which can be very scary for anyone in the same room as you.
How often do you stop breathing?
Let’s put it this way, someone with mild sleep apnea can stop breathing up to 14 times every hour, and these stoppages can last between 10 and 30 seconds.
Your body doesn’t like when this happens, so it will wake you up. You may not remember any of this, or you may recall times when you wake up gasping for breath.
In either case, your sleep is disrupted, and you are not able to get the deep, healthy, quality sleep that you need.
Risks Caused By Sleep Apnea
Earlier we mentioned factors that increase your risk of having sleep apnea. Now, we want to mention other health risks that increase if you don’t treat your sleep apnea.
People with sleep apnea are more likely to have high blood pressure. They also are more likely to have cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
People with sleep apnea are more likely to develop diabetes and depression, too.
And you are more likely to be the driver in a car accident if you have sleep apnea. This is a result of the daytime sleepiness that can cause you to nod off behind the wheel.
Get Help At Our Office
You can get treatment for your sleep apnea. We can refer you to sleep lab so you can be diagnosed, then we can work with you to find a treatment.
One possibility is an oral appliance that we can create for you. These appliances adjust the position of your jaw so you can breathe freely while you sleep. This reduces your snoring and allows you to sleep longer and deeper during the night.
To make an appointment, contact the Sunrise Dental location nearest to you by calling or filling out our online form.