Snoring is more than just a nuisance for your partner. It could be a symptom of a potentially serious yet common disorder known as sleep apnea. An estimated 25 percent of adults are habitual snorers, and while not always the case, these noisy rumblings may increase your risk for a host of health problems that impact quality of life.
Obstructed sleep apnea is a common yet severely underdiagnosed condition. Recent studies indicate that 20 percent of American adults suffer from mild sleep apnea, which translates to some 40 million people. This disease can affect anyone, regardless of age or sex. It occurs when the throat muscles narrow or temporarily close during sleep, restricting air flow and interrupting breathing. Sufferers usually snore loudly, and are awoken repeatedly through the night, sputtering as they gasp for air.
Today, we have a much greater understanding of obstructive sleep apnea, including its causes and most reliable treatments. Research and anecdotal evidence has also shown us some of the factors that increase risk for developing sleep apnea.
Besides heavy snoring, what are some other risk factors for sleep apnea?
Here are nine factors that increase sleep apnea risk.
Just because you don’t wake up the neighbors with buzz-like snoring, doesn’t mean you’re not at risk for sleep apnea. Even healthy men and women of normal weight can suffer. Look out for these warning signs:
When getting evaluated for sleep apnea, the severity is determined by how often your breathing is impaired in a one-hour period. Some people may experience only a couple of episodes an hour, while others will suffer more than 20.
In the past, sleep apnea suffers were often prescribed CPAP machines, which suppress snoring and keep airways open as you sleep. While effective, these bulky devices involve strapping a mask to your face, which can be uncomfortable and claustrophobic to many.
In some cases, sufferers can get relief (and a good night’s rest) simply be wearing a custom-made oral appliance that moves the lower jaw forward. This can be fitted by your dentist, after a thorough assessment and evaluation.
Dr. Nick and Dr. Elliot are sleep apnea dentists Long Island trusts, boasting decades of experience successfully treating this common disorder. Call us today to set up a free sleep apnea consultation!
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