An estimated 20 million Americans have this condition, although half or more of them may not know it.
It can increase your risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure.
It can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and car accidents, too.
It’s sleep apnea, and it is a treatable condition.
And Dr. Mark W. Wilhelm could help with your treatment, particularly if you are dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common form of this condition. By visiting our dentist office in Woodbury, MN, we can design a treatment that can help you get healthy sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
Should You Talk To Someone About Sleep Apnea?
The symptoms of sleep apnea aren’t always obvious.
Loud, persistent snoring is one of the most common symptoms. If your family or friends complain or tease you about your snoring frequently, that could indicate that you have a sleep disorder.
Snoring is a symptom of a bigger issue. When your airway is narrow or restricted, it can amplify the sound of your snoring. When your airway is blocked or obstructed, then you stop snoring because you also stop breathing.
These breathing stoppages can occur anywhere from five to more than 30 times an hour. Your body responds to these stoppages by waking you up — briefly — because you keep breathing when you are awake. After this happens, you drift back to sleep and the cycle starts again.
Since you are constantly waking and falling back asleep, you rarely get the deep, healthy sleep you need. This leads to feelings of sleep deprivation, which can lead to fatigue, frequent daytime sleepiness, and trouble focusing on a particular task or project.
If you are noticing any of these symptoms, then it’s worth finding out if you might have sleep apnea.
Risk Factors For Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Anyone can have sleep apnea. You may not have any of the risk factors for this condition and still have or develop it.
With that in mind, you are more likely to have or to develop sleep apnea if you share some of the factors mentioned below, however.
▷ BEING OVERWEIGHT
Individuals who are considered obese are four times more likely to have sleep apnea, according to the Mayo Clinic. This may relate to the next risk factor.
▷ HAVING A LARGE NECK
When people are overweight, they are more likely to have fat deposits around their necks. When they fall asleep, this can put pressure on their airways, which can make breathing more difficult. For males, the risk increases when their necks are 17 inches around or more. For females, the risk increases when their necks are 15 inches around or more.
▷ HAVING A NARROW AIRWAY
This can occur for a variety of reasons. You could have adenoids or tonsils that are enlarged, or you may just have a narrow throat.
▷ BEING A SMOKER
Smoking makes your three times more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
▷ FAMILY HISTORY
You can’t control your genes, but they can affect your risk for sleep apnea as well. If this condition runs in your family, then you are more likely to have it, too.
▷ BEING MALE
While men and women both can have sleep apnea, men are twice as likely to have this condition.
▷ GETTING OLDER
This is another you can’t control, but you should know about. Many people develop sleep apnea as they get older. Even if you don’t have sleep apnea today, it’s still a good idea to learn the symptoms of this condition.
Getting Diagnosed And Treated
If you aren’t sure if you have sleep apnea, Dr. Wilhelm can refer you to a sleep clinic where you can be tested. If you do have it, then we can help you find a treatment for your condition.
It may be a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It may be an oral appliance that adjusts the position of your jaw to keep your airways open while you sleep. It may be a combination treatment using a CPAP and an oral appliance.