Are you a snorer? Snoring is something that’s often out of your control, but it can disrupt your sleep and the sleep of those around you. While snoring can just be a nightly annoyance, it can also be a sign of something else: sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to wake up hundreds of times throughout the night without even realizing it, robbing of a good night’s sleep. Of course, genetics and family history play a large part in whether or not you develop sleep apnea, but there are also common risk factors that may lead to the condition.
Here Are the Most Common Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
There are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood that you develop sleep apnea. If you are a snorer and you have any of these risk factors, you should work with a medical professional to determine whether or not you have the condition. Excessive alcohol consumption and smoking are two common lifestyle habits that can increase your risk for apnea. If you experience significant congestion, or you have enlarged throat or tongue tissue, you may also be at risk. Finally, obesity and advanced age are also common risk factors that lead to sleep apnea.
Watch for These Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Simply basing your diagnosis for sleep apnea off of whether or not you snore isn’t effective. It’s possible to be a chronic snorer without having sleep apnea. If you notice these additional symptoms, you may have the condition. If you feel exhausted during the day, even after sleeping for a healthy number of hours, you may not be getting good sleep because of apnea. If you feel fatigue and irritability throughout the day, these conditions can again point to a lack of quality sleep resulting from apnea. Finally, if you wake up in the night gasping for air, this might be because your breathing has been interrupted by apnea.
Treating Sleep Apnea Prevents Further Health Risks
The lack of quality sleep that you experience isn’t the only negative impact of sleep apnea. This condition can actually have negative consequences for your overall health. Chronic, untreated sleep apnea can result in high blood pressure, which increases your risk for stroke and heart attack. You may also develop depression and poor liver function because of your apnea. Then, of course, there’s the negative impact it has on the sleep that your significant other gets. Treating sleep apnea is in your best interest.
Treat Sleep Apnea with Your Dentist
Your dentist can actually help you diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Talk to your oral health professional about performing a sleep study to determine whether or not you have the condition. If you do, your dentist can likely create a custom oral appliance to help prevent episodes of apnea. Get checked for sleep apnea by contacting Elm Creek Dental in Maple Grove, MN at 763-416-0606.