April 22, 2023
Some researchers suggest that around 80% or even 90% of people with sleep apnea are unaware that they have it. This disorder is often found to be the culprit behind loud snoring and constant exhaustion. Your sleep dentist recommends learning as much as you can about sleep apnea so that you’re in a better position to recognize it and deal with it appropriately. To that end, here are 5 sleep apnea facts that might surprise you.
1. There is More Than One Kind of Sleep Apnea
Most of the time, people who talk about sleep apnea are specifically referring to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is the most common form of the disorder and occurs when your airway becomes blocked while you’re asleep. However, on rare occasions, the issue might be that the brain stops telling the muscles to keep breathing; this is known as central sleep apnea (CSA). OSA and CSA can have similar symptoms, but they call for different treatments, so it’s important to determine which one you have.
2. Some People Have Hundreds of Sleep Apnea Episodes Each Night
Sleep apnea causes pauses in your breathing that can last 10 seconds or longer. How often these episodes occur depends on how severe your disorder is. Of course, some cases are more extreme than others, and it’s not unheard of for some people to experience hundreds of episodes in a single night. Needless to say, the more often your breathing is interrupted, the worse your sleep apnea symptoms will be.
3. You Don’t Need to Be Obese to Have Sleep Apnea
There’s a very strong link between obesity and sleep apnea. In fact, around a fifth of obese people also suffer from sleep apnea symptoms. However, the disorder can still occur in people of normal weight. As such, everyone should keep an eye out for warning signs that could be the result of sleep-disordered breathing.
4. Sleep Apnea Can Run in Your Family
Is there anyone in your family that has sleep apnea? If so, you may have a higher chance of developing it yourself. There are a number of genetic factors that can increase your risk for sleep apnea, such as the anatomy of your face or the size of your neck.
5. Sleep Apnea Can Be Dangerous, But It’s Also Treatable
Sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and an increased chance of traffic accidents. In the worst-case scenario, it could even result in premature death. But luckily, you can often avoid the health problems caused by sleep apnea by having your disorder treated promptly. In many cases, a sleep dentist can help you sleep more soundly at night with a customized oral appliance. Reach out to a professional today to find out what treatment options are available.
About the Author
Dr. Kinnari Jariwala earned her dental degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry, and she is a member of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. She enjoys helping patients figure out the cause of their sleep problems. If you have OSA, she may suggest oral appliance therapy to improve your sleep. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Jariwala at the Center for Dental Sleep Medicine and TMJ of New Mexico in Albuquerque, visit her website or call (505) 433-2107.
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