Sleep apnea is more than just a snoring problem. It’s a serious sleeping disorder that causes your breathing to stop while you’re asleep. What’s more, it’s quite common. Sleep apnea impacts about 22 million Americans.
At Couture Smiles Dental Group, maintaining your health is incredibly important to us. That’s why our doctors have compiled this comprehensive guide to help you spot the signs of sleep apnea so that you can get the best treatment possible.
What exactly is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea causes your breathing to stop and start throughout the night. It also leads to loud snoring and waking up feeling tired. Other symptoms include insomnia, irritability, and problems focusing.
Certain things may increase your risk of developing sleep apnea, including:
- Smoking or drinking
- Carrying excess weight
- Being over the age of 40
- A wide neck (17 inches or more in men, 16 inches or more in women)
- A recessed chin
- An abnormally small jaw
- A large overbite
While these risk factors do make it more likely that you’ll develop sleep apnea, you can still have the condition regardless. And while it’s an issue that mostly impacts adults, children can develop the condition as well.
Why is sleep apnea dangerous?
While sleep apnea in itself is quite a serious condition, what makes it even more troubling is its tendency to lead to other chronic conditions and illnesses. This includes:
Type 2 diabetes
Sleep apnea leads to a greater risk of developing insulin resistance, as well as Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that causes spikes in your blood sugar and can lead to a reduced quality of life, amputations, and even death.
Because sleep apnea causes your breathing to stop, it places a strain on your heart. This can lead to dips in your blood oxygen levels, straining your cardiovascular system. This condition can also increase your risk of developing hypertension, or high blood pressure.
Sleep apnea can place an unnecessary amount of pressure on your liver to work overtime. The strain from this can lead to liver scarring and fatty liver disease.
Sleep apnea can also lead to metabolic problems. This can result in unstable cholesterol levels, increased circumference in your waist, and high blood sugar levels.
It’s important to catch sleep apnea in its early stages, so you can avoid the serious implications mentioned above. Do you think you may suffer from sleep apnea? Don’t wait to seek treatment. Visit our website to make an appointment today.