Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder that affects millions of Americans every year. It causes you to repeatedly stop breathing in your sleep, preventing you from getting the rest you need. Unfortunately, sleep apnea is significantly associated with many health conditions, including hypertension, heart attack, memory loss, and much more. By knowing which factors can increase your risk of the condition, you can take all steps necessary to prevent it. That said, here are a few common causes of the disorder and what you can do to lower your risk.
Unsurprising to most, our population is currently facing an increase in the rate of obesity. That’s primarily why sleep apnea is also on the rise. When fat accumulates in the neck and increases its circumference, the airways become narrower. That additional pressure can cause the upper airways to collapse when your muscles relax in your sleep. Fortunately, health experts report that you can cure obstructive sleep apnea by losing weight. You can accomplish that by exercising, sticking to a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and regularly visiting your doctor. Before you know it, your weight and sleep will be back on track!
Smoking and Using Tobacco Products
Everyone knows that smoking and using tobacco products can have detrimental effects on your health. However, did you know that it can also negatively affect your sleep? Studies show that smokers are three times more likely to have sleep apnea than non-smokers. That’s because smoking causes inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway, restricting the passage of air. Quitting the habit may be difficult, but it’s certainly worth it for the sake of getting a good night’s rest.
Sometimes, sleep apnea can stem from the harmful substances you put in your body. Alcohol is a depressant that relaxes your throat and airways, hindering your ability to breathe. It can also decrease your drive to breathe and cause slow, shallow breaths. Sadly, this combination can cause you to stop breathing throughout the night and increases your chances of having an apneic event. Therefore, it’s a good idea to cut back on your alcohol consumption to protect yourself and your sleep.
Medical Conditions and Family History
Various medical conditions can contribute to, and exacerbate, sleep apnea, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic lung disease. If you suffer from any of those, you’re also at risk of the sleep disorder. Even milder conditions like allergies and chronic nasal congestion can increase your chances of having sleep apnea! What’s more, since the shape of your jawbone and tongue placement can be inherited, the sleep disorder is a condition that can also run in the family.
Knowing which factors increase your risk of sleep apnea can help you take the right preventive measures. By combating those risks, you can avoid letting lack of sleep interfere with your quality of life!
About the Practice
At Brodhagen Dental Care, we use the latest technologies and techniques to ensure all our patients receive the high-quality treatment they deserve. Our team is experienced in helping patients combat sleep apnea by providing customized, effective, and comfortable oral appliance therapy. To learn more about the risk factors of sleep apnea, visit our website or call (920) 499-2121.