Sleep ApneaAn Overview
Sleep Apnea is a commonly undiagnosed medical condition that can cause negative consequences for both your overall health and oral health. Millions of adults suffer from sleep apnea and the associated side effects. Sleep apnea is the result of a patient’s airway becoming partially or completely blocked repeatedly while asleep. The patient’s throat muscles fail to keep the airway open allowing the soft tissues or tongue to block the airway. Oxygen is then unable to flow to your vital organs and brain causing patients to experience interrupted and unrestful sleep.
Patients with sleep apnea have a higher chance of experiencing heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and other systemic diseases. For some patients, sleep apnea may cause chronic TMJ pain, cracked or broken teeth, and even tooth loss. Early diagnosis of sleep apnea is essential for conservative treatment.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Certain lifestyle, health, or genetic factors may put you at a higher risk for developing sleep apnea. Knowing your risk factors can help you seek an early diagnosis for effective treatment. Getting treatment for your sleep apnea can prevent long-term health problems and can help you get a better night sleep so you can feel rested and focused.
- Your Weight – Being overweight can put you at a higher risk for sleep apnea
- Your Neck Circumference – Patient’s with a larger neck circumference are more likely to develop sleep apnea
- The Size of Your Airway – Some patients naturally have a more narrow airway. Enlarged tonsils can also narrow the airway increasing the chance of sleep apnea.
- Your Gender – Men are 50% more likely to develop sleep apnea than women
- Your Family History – Your family history can predict a lot about your health, especially as you age. Be sure to let Dr. Rever know if you have a family history of sleep apnea.
- Your Health – If you have high blood or diabetes, you may have sleep apnea. Many health and oral health concerns cause a domino effect of other medical concerns. Regular dental exams can help keep your oral health in check.
Sleep apnea may go undiagnosed because it can be difficult to know that you are experiencing it. A common sign of sleep apnea is heavy and loud snoring. If you have been told you snore, suffer from depression, have difficulty concentrating, wake up gasping for air, or feel frequently fatigued, contact Silver Springs, MD dentist Dr. Rever.