When left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of potentially significant health complications. Sleep apnea can be difficult to diagnose because many people with sleep apnea are unaware their breathing is interrupted while they sleep.
Understanding the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for sleep apnea can help your or a loved one get the help you need before it has a negative effect on your health. Our team of dentists offers general and cosmetic dentistry services.
Located in The Woodlands, Texas, Scott Young, DDS, provides dental services for the greater Houston region, including the communities of Highland Village, West University, River Oaks, Rice Village, and Memorial.
Is sleep apnea dangerous?
Obstructive sleep apnea can potentially be dangerous for some people if they develop high blood pressure, making them at a greater risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Sleep apnea also causes daytime fatigue and exhaustion because your sleep is repeatedly disrupted throughout the night. That can make everyday activities, like driving and operating machinery, more dangerous for people who struggle to stay awake.
Obstructive sleep apnea can also interfere with your ability to take certain medications or receive general anesthesia for surgery. Some people develop sleep apnea as a result of underlying health problems like obesity, asthma, and diabetes.
Symptoms, signs, and risk factors associated with sleep apnea
Millions of Americans have some form of obstructive sleep apnea (OA) but don’t know it. Loud snoring is one of the most common symptoms, but in many cases, it takes a partner to notice the interrupted breathing because most people don’t wake up while it’s happening.
When you have sleep apnea, you may think you got a full night’s sleep, only to wake up feeling groggy, irritable, with a headache, or even a sore throat.
As with many health issues, some people have a higher risk of developing sleep apnea due to their age, sex, and family history. It tends to be more common in men and older adults, but anyone can develop sleep apnea.
Family history and genetic factors, like being born with a narrow airway, can also increase the risk of sleep apnea in some people.
In addition to the health factors linked to sleep apnea, including weight challenges, diabetes, and asthma, lifestyle factors, like smoking and poor diet and lack of exercise, can also increase the risk.
How does a dentist treat sleep apnea?
There are several treatment options for sleep apnea. Mild cases may respond to lifestyle changes and adjustments to your sleep routine and habits. Dentists treat sleep apnea by prescribing oral appliances that help to keep the airway open while you sleep.
Moderate cases of sleep apnea are commonly treated with the CPAP machine, which pumps air pressure through a mask while you sleep to keep the airway open.
For more information about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for sleep apnea and when to seek treatment, contact Scott Young, DDS, today to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists in the greater Houston area.