Sleep Apnea Risk Review: Where Do You Fall?

Waking at night, feeling exhausted in the morning, loud snoring, and an irritated partner – these are all signs that you might be suffering from sleep apnea, a serious condition that can cause a variety of health problems. You might not even realize you’re suffering from it, especially if you don’t know what it is!

We can treat sleep apnea at Northwest Dental Group, and we can even help you find a diagnosis. If you’re worried that your sleep habits might be pointing to sleep apnea or another problem you owe it to yourself to have us check it out – it might even save your life!

What Is Sleep Apnea?

For some people snoring is just snoring. For others it’s an indicator that their airway is so blocked that it’s in danger of being completely closed off. A closed airway doesn’t usually last for long, but those interruptions are called apneas.

Sleep apnea sufferers can have multiple episodes a night, resulting in poor sleep quality, headaches, trouble staying awake during the day, depression, mood swings, a dry mouth, and various other problems. Apneas happen because of the relaxation of tissue in the neck during sleep – the same reason you snore. When your airways starts to be partially blocked the rumbling begins, but for apnea patients it eventually collapses the airway completely.

The Risk Factors

If you’re wondering about your own possible sleep apnea symptoms it can help to know some of the risk factors. Keep in mind that falling into one of these categories isn’t a definitive answer – it simply suggests that you may want to get your snoring and sleep problems checked out!

  • Overweight patients account for about half of sleep apnea patients. Excess fat tissue in the neck can cause pressure on the airway, especially during sleep. Keep in mind that not all apnea patients are overweight.
  • A large neck can mean that you have a narrower airway or that your airways is constantly under pressure. If your neck is bigger around than 17 inches for a man or 16 inches for a woman your risks are quite a bit greater.
  • Diabetes is a common disease for sleep apnea sufferers. Whether it’s simply a correlation or a causal link is still up for debate. Regardless, the percentage of sleep apnea patients with diabetes is quite high.
  • Chronic nasal congestion is very common in sleep apnea patients. Not only does congestion narrow the airways, but it also makes you more likely to breath through your mouth and sleep on your back.
  • A family history of sleep apnea is a pretty good indicator of whether or not you’ll develop it.
  • Men are far more likely to develop sleep apnea.
  • Ethnicity seems to play a role as well: more sleep apnea patients are black than any other demographic under the age of 35.
  • High blood pressure leads to increased risks as well. If you’re hypertensive be sure to talk to your doctor!
  • Smoking and drinking both contribute to sleep apnea risks. Alcohol near bedtime further relaxes your throat tissues, and smoking increases risk because it makes your airway tissues swell up.

How We Can Help

We treat sleep apnea using oral appliances. These small, easy-to-wear devices can be prescribed after we have you undergo a sleep study. Once we know you’re either a chronic snorer or are suffering from sleep apnea we’ll gladly help you regain a good night’s sleep with one of our oral appliances.

The small devices we use are designed to hold your jaw in a comfortable forward position. Your jaw relaxing backward is often the last straw for an apnea episode, and by holding your jaw comfortably in place we can prevent apneas and generally all snoring as well!

You Deserve To Sleep Well!

A full night’s sleep is essential to good health and happy living. If you’ve been dealing with disrupted sleep because of apnea we want to help. The solution may be as simply as a small mouthpiece that you could have in a matter of weeks!

If you want to find out what we can do to make your sleep apnea better don’t wait another day to contact our Rochester office. We’re ready to see you at Northwest Dental Group whenever you’re ready to see us!

You can reach us by phone at 507-315-2932 or you can request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!