At least 25 million adults in the United States have sleep apnea. Are you at risk of becoming one of them?
The answer might surprise you.
Sleep apnea has been linked to various factors and health conditions – not just health issues like obesity and old age. Some of the leading causes of sleep apnea are entirely out of your control!
Wondering if you might someday be affected? Well, you’re in the right place.
Read on to learn about the different types of sleep apnea, what causes them, and whether you might be at risk.
The Three Types of Sleep Apnea
Do you snore loudly and constantly, or sometimes stop breathing while you sleep? Do you feel exhausted even after a whole night’s sleep or wake up with a dry throat, mouth, or headache?
It might be sleep apnea. This severe sleep disorder comes in three forms:
- Central sleep apnea
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Complex sleep apnea
Each of these conditions requires specific sleep apnea treatment and, in most cases, medical or dental intervention. This could include using a machine known as a CPAP to help keep your airway open throughout the night.
Common Causes of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea, also known as OSA, is the most common type of sleep apnea, occurring when the throat muscles relax, allowing the airway to narrow or close entirely. This can cause you to snort, choke, or gasp.
While you might not wake up enough to recall the event, this type of disturbance can repeat up to 50 times per night, impacting your ability to get sound, restful sleep.
Central sleep apnea is far less common. This sleep problem occurs when the brain does not correctly communicate with the body’s breathing muscles, causing you to awaken with shortness of breath. This condition is sometimes caused by prescription and narcotic medications.
Complex sleep apnea syndrome, sometimes called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, occurs in people with both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea Solutions
If some of the above signs and symptoms sound familiar, don’t self-diagnose. Instead, see a medical professional and find out what could be causing your sleep disorder.
Modern sleep apnea treatments can also help manage other symptoms like constant snoring. And there may be options that won’t require you to sleep wearing a CPAP machine.
Sleep Apnea Prevention and Treatment
Now that you know more about the most common causes of sleep apnea, it’s time to talk with your dentist.
While some factors are easy to work on without professional care – losing weight, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, and changing medications; others will require expert advice and treatment. And, the sooner you get help, the sooner you can return to enjoying night after night of long, restful sleep.