Sleep Apnea is a condition that affects millions of people all over the United States including children, and can unfortunately be quite serious.
According to Web MD, Sleep Apnea is a disorder that causes you to start and stop your breathing while you are sleeping. You could have Sleep Apnea if you snore or feel exhausted after what you think is a full night’s sleep.
Three main types of Sleep Apnea include:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common that causes your throat muscles to relax, Central Sleep Apnea, which happens when your brain isn’t sending the proper signals to your muscles that control your breathing and Complex Sleep Apnea which is a disorder that occurs when you or someone you know has both Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
If you believe that you may have sleep apnea, it is imperative that you see your doctor for treatment as sleep apnea can sometimes cause heart problems, stroke, diabetes and other complications.
Some signs and symptoms that you may be suffering from sleep apnea include:
Breathing cessation while sleeping
Waking abruptly followed by gasping or a shortness of breath
Dry mouth or sore throat upon wakening
Headaches in the morning
Excessive sleepiness during waking hours
Although anyone can be affected by sleep apnea, there are some risk factors to consider that include:
Excess Weight-People who are overweight or obese are four times as likely to develop sleep apnea as fat deposits around the upper airways could restrict breathing. However, not everyone with sleep apnea is obese or overweight.
Neck circumference-People who have a thicker neck could have smaller airways. In women, that risk is increased in necks that are 15” or larger. In men it is 17” or larger.
Narrow airways-You may have a narrow throat or your adenoids or tonsils could become enlarged blocking your airways, this is particularly common in children who have sleep apnea.
Being male-Sleep apnea occurs in men more often in women. However if a woman is overweight the risk is greater as it is with women after menopause.
Family history-You may be at a higher risk if you have family members who suffer from sleep apnea.
Alcohol and drug use-Tranquilizers, sedatives, and alcohol relax your muscles in your throat and could cause sleep apnea.
Smoking-Your dentist explains that people have a greater risk of sleep apnea as smoking can increase the fluid retention and inflammation in your upper airway.
If you believe you may be suffering from Sleep Apnea, schedule an appointment with your dentist who can refer you to a sleep disorder specialist for an at home sleep study. Call or click today.