Sleep Apnea Causes & Symptoms
As obstructive sleep apnea episodes occur as patients sleep, the condition frequently goes unnoticed by patients. While the condition causes a number of daytime symptoms unless a patient knows what to look for, symptoms like fatigue and irritability can be easily overlooked. At Kenilworth Dental Associates, our goal is to educate patients on the warning signs so that they know when more serious conditions are at play. If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the following conditions, we urge you to visit Dr. Dani for a screening as soon as possible:
- Restless sleep
- Heavy snoring or snorting
- Excessive daytime drowsiness or fatigue
- Depression or irritability
- Pauses in breathing or gasping noises during sleep
There are also physical symptoms of sleep apnea that our experienced dentist will look for during your screening. Complaints of dry mouth and dry throats, in particular, are warning signs that an individual may be experiencing sleep apnea. If we feel that you are at risk or exhibiting sleep apnea symptoms, we will help you get a sleep study completed and coordinate treatment with your physician once an official diagnosis has been made.
Risk Factors Associated with OSA
While sleep apnea can affect almost patients at almost any age, there are several key risk factors that can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing obstructive sleep apnea. For example, men are almost twice as likely to suffer from sleep apnea as women. Obesity is another condition that has long been associated with sleep apnea as a critical risk factor. Men who have a neck size 17 inches or more and women with a neck size of 16 inches or more have an increased probability of developing sleep apnea.
Smoking, drinking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of sleep apnea can also make you more vulnerable to the condition. Biological factors such as the size of your tongue, tonsils, jaw, and airway present additional risk factors.
The Long-Term Impact of Sleep Apnea
The effects of sleep apnea go well beyond an individual’s ability to sleep. Ongoing studies have shown that obstructive sleep apnea can complicate or increase your chances of developing a number of secondary health serious medical conditions. In turn, these secondary health conditions worsen an individual’s overall health and can ultimately turn fatal. Secondary health conditions frequently tied to sleep apnea include:
- Heart attack
- Cognitive impairment
- Insulin resistance
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)