Sleep apnea is a condition that can take a serious toll on a person’s health. The repeated cessation of breathing at night compels the body to wake up each time to revive inhalation. While a person with sleep apnea may not be consciously aware of each instance when his body wakes him up, the cumulative effects of sleep apnea can greatly lessen the patient’s wellbeing. The following risk factors can increase a person’s likelihood of having sleep apnea:
What a person does during the day can affect his activities at night, even during sleep. Specifically, the consumption of certain substances can trigger sleep apnea. Dentists have found that patients who drink an excessive amount of alcohol, smoke, or take depressant drugs suffer from sleep apnea more often than individuals who do not have these habits. Tobacco usage can irritate a person’s airway and cause its tissues to swell. Depressants and alcohol can cause excess slack in throat tissues. Both of these side effects can lead to obstruction of the airway .
Structural Airway Issues
Some individuals may be born with conditions that make them more prone to sleep apnea. If a person has a particularly narrow airway, it can be more difficult for oxygen to reach the lungs during slumber. Researchers have also found that individuals with abnormally large necks may suffer from sleep apnea on a more frequent basis. Obstructive sleep apnea also occurs when the tongue or soft tissues at the back of the throat relax during sleep and physically block the airway.
When a person has a high body mass index, fatty deposits may be present anywhere throughout the body, including the throat region. When excessive mass resides around the airway, this extra weight can restrict the movement of oxygen into the lungs. This is why dentists recommend that patients with obesity issues bring down their weight, which can greatly alleviate sleep apnea problems.
University Associates in Dentistry can help you overcome your obstructive sleep apnea issues. If you suffer from this common problem, call (312) 704-5511 to speak with a representative at our Chicago office. Our dental professionals can recommend oral appliance therapy to stabilize and reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, and hyoid bone to prevent airway obstruction and promote comfortable sleep.