Contributing Factors of Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder that affects more than 12 million Americans. Although there are specific symptoms that can lead to a proper professional diagnosis, OSA is difficult to self-diagnose and can go undetected for years. Often, it is the partner of an individual with sleep apnea who brings their attention to the condition. At our Gig Harbor dental practice, education plays an important role in helping patients better identify the warning signs so they’ll know when to seek treatment.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Unlike many other health conditions that have a single cause, obstructive sleep apnea can occur due to a variety of factors, ranging from family history to obesity. However, there are certain behavioral and health factors that increase the likelihood of developing a sleep disorder. These factors include:
- Enlarged neck, tongue, or tonsils
- GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Smoking and drinking alcohol
Although many risk factors for developing OSA can be counteracted, it’s important to note that your chances of getting OSA are greater if you have a family history of obstructive sleep apnea.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
When a person lives with obstructive sleep apnea, their quality of life and ability to complete the most basic daily functions become compromised. Therefore, it’s very important to pay close attention to changes in the patient’s mood, energy level, and health in order to help diagnose this condition.
Although snoring is a symptom commonly associated with sleep apnea, snoring may not always be caused by the condition. Generalized snoring is an inconvenient yet common condition that can be caused by a number of issues, ranging from allergies to a deviated septum. However, heavy snoring is one of the most recognizable signs of OSA due to the patient’s struggle of inhaling and exhaling during sleep. These deep, noisy snorts can sometimes sound like choking noises and occur when collapsed tissue blocks the airway.
When a person experiences difficulty breathing throughout the night, it often leads to sleep apnea symptoms including:
- Fatigue and sleepiness
- Grogginess/drowsiness throughout the day
- Morning headaches
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dry mouth
- A sore throat
- Night sweating
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
If you find that you or your partner are showing any of the symptoms above, contact our Gig Harbor dentist at SoundBridge Sleep Apnea Therapy. Our skilled dentist will evaluate your case and guide you towards the personalized treatment that’s best for your condition.