Risk Factors Associated with Sleep Apnea
While sleep apnea can affect both men and women at almost any age, there are several key risk factors that increase an individual’s likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea. For example, men are almost twice as likely to suffer from sleep apnea than women.
Obesity is another condition that has long been associated with sleep apnea as a critical risk factor. Men who have a neck size 17 inches or greater and women with a neck size of 16 inches or greater have an increased probability of developing sleep apnea.
Smoking, drinking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of sleep apnea also make you more vulnerable to the condition. Biological factors such as the size of your tongue, tonsils, jaw, and airway present additional risk factors.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Because obstructive sleep apnea episodes occur as patients sleep, the condition frequently goes unnoticed. Even though the condition causes a number of daytime symptoms, unless you know what to look for, symptoms like fatigue and irritability can be easily overlooked.
At Kenilworth Dental Associates, our goal is to educate patients on the warning signs so they know when more serious conditions are at play. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following conditions, we urge you to visit our dentist in Kenilworth for a screening as soon as possible:
- Restless sleep
- Heavy snoring or snorting sounds while sleeping
- Excessive daytime drowsiness or fatigue
- Depression or irritability
- Pauses in breathing or gasping noises during sleep
There are also physical symptoms of sleep apnea that our experienced sleep dentist will look for during your screening. Complaints of dry mouth and dry throat when you wake up in the morning, in particular, are warning signs that an individual may be experiencing sleep apnea. If you’re at risk or exhibiting sleep apnea symptoms, we’ll help you get a sleep study completed and coordinate treatment with your physician once an official diagnosis has been made.
Long-term Impact of Untreated Sleep Apnea
The effects of sleep apnea go further than impairing an individual’s ability to sleep. Ongoing studies have shown that obstructive sleep apnea complicates or increase your chances of developing a number of serious secondary health problems. Secondary health conditions tied to sleep apnea include:
- Heart attack
- Cognitive impairment
- Insulin resistance
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Beyond those secondary conditions, sleep apnea and the fatigue associated with it have been noted to directly correlate with an array of other problems including accidents at work or on the road, cardiopulmonary problems, and weight gain and diabetes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
- Poor concentration
- Depression or irritability
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Falling asleep during routine activities
- Waking with a headache
- Restless sleep
- Frequent urination
- Loud or disruptive snoring
- Gasping or choking while you sleep
- Sudden pauses in breathing
What are potential risk factors for sleep apnea?
While anyone can develop sleep apnea, there are a few physical traits that increase your risk of being affected by this sleep disorder. They are as follows:
- Excess tissue in your airway/back of the throat
- A large neck or tongue
Are there consequences associated with untreated sleep apnea?
If you’re diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and decide not to treat it, there is a possibility of the condition becoming fatal. Further consequences range from high blood pressure, heart disease, and heart attack. Patients have also exhibited strokes, fatigue-related car accidents, and an overall decrease in their quality of life.
If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, we recommend contacting our office and scheduling a consultation with Dr. Dani, your qualified sleep dentist in Kenilworth, IL.
What type of treatments are available for obstructive sleep apnea?
There are several options for treating sleep apnea, including lifestyle changes, CPAP machines, and oral appliances. Once you’ve received an official diagnosis, Dr. Dani and your primary care doctor will work with you to determine which treatment is best for your unique situation and lifestyle.
Your Sleep Apnea Dentist in Kenilworth
If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, arrange a consultation with our dentist in Kenilworth right away. Dr. Dani will coordinate your diagnosis and treatment so you get the care you need.