Who Is at Risk for Sleep Apnea

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Do you know what sleep apnea is? Essentially, the most common type of sleep apnea occurs when your airway is obstructed while you sleep. This obstruction can be caused by your tongue or sagging muscles in your throat.  In fact, a person who suffers from sleep apnea may unknowingly wake up more than 100 times a night. If not addressed, sleep apnea can eventually lead to problems like heart disease and diabetes.

However, would you be surprised to learn that some people are more likely to have sleep apnea than others? Sometimes there is nothing you can do to protect yourself from sleep apnea, but at other times you can avoid the problem entirely.

For example, certain lifestyle choices can promote sleep apnea. Luckily, these choices can be changed to prevent or relieve sleep apnea. One problem is obesity, which makes tissues in your mouth relax more than normal. Smoking is another common problem. The nicotine in cigarettes will cause your airway to swell, meaning your throat more likely to be obstructed. Alcohol can similarly relax the muscles in your airway.

Conversely, people with naturally small airways could be at risk for sleep apnea, especially if they struggle with colds, allergies, and sinus issues. Similarly, men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women. Sadly, men who have a family history of sleep apnea are even more likely.

Fortunately, even if you suffer from genetic problems, your dentist can create special appliances that will support your throat muscles. Similarly, a dentist can provide you with specified advice. If you are interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to contact us.