If you experience daytime fatigue, chronic headaches when you wake in the morning, difficulty concentrating, and other symptoms of sleep deprivation, you might suffer from sleep apnea. If you sleep with a partner who’s constantly disturbed by your loud, erratic snoring, then the likelihood is even higher. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, describes a sleep disorder marked by excessively loud snoring, punctuated by moments when you stop breathing in your sleep completely. Although the snoring is loud and distinct, it doesn’t usually wake the person snoring. Patients with sleep apnea are often unaware of their condition until prompted to seek treatment by a frustrated sleeping partner.
Common Risk Factors of OSA
Obstructive sleep apnea and the snoring associated with it are caused by oral tissues and muscles congesting your airway when you sleep. While anyone can develop the condition, certain factors can significantly increase your risk, including;
- Weight—not everyone who’s overweight has sleep apnea, and not everyone with OSA has trouble with weight management. However, excess fatty deposits around the waist and upper airway can contribute to airway obstruction while you sleep.
- Genetics—some patients inherit narrow airways or abnormally-sized oral tissues, like tonsils, from their parents, that can increase the risk of OSA.
- Alcohol consumption—a nightcap can help you fall asleep faster, but your quality of sleep may be poor. Also, alcohol can cause the muscles and tissues in your mouth and throat to over-relax and collapse further into your airway.
Health Issues Related to OSA
A typical sleep apnea cycle consists of increasingly-loud snoring as the airway becomes more obstructed, followed by a moment or two of silence as your breathing ceases completely. After several seconds, your brain will panic from the lack of oxygen and force your body to start breathing again. Patients normally remain unconscious during the episodes, but they can occur hundreds of times a night and prevent your mind and body from falling into deep sleep. The chronic sleep deprivation and decreases in blood oxygen levels can lead to a host of related health issues, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression, to name just a few.
About Your Livonia Dentist:
As an experienced sleep dentist, Dr. James Stewart has helped many patients find relief from snoring and sleep apnea to achieve the quality of sleep they deserve. To learn how you can finally sleep soundly, visit us as soon as possible for a thorough examination. James Steward, DDS, and our compassionate staff proudly serve patients of all ages from Livonia, Farmington Hills, Plymouth, Northville, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, and all surrounding communities. To schedule an appointment, call our office today at (734) 425-4400.