It’s been estimated that 1 out of every 4 adults in the U.S. has sleep apnea. Many people associate it with snoring and restless nights, but sadly, there are far more serious consequences. In fact, sleep apnea in McLean can ultimately be fatal because it contributes to high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, obesity and heart attacks. Some doctors even estimate that sleep apnea triples a person’s risk of death. Also, there are many additional risk factors for sleep apnea besides snoring or being overweight, but many people don’t get tested for it because they don’t know they’re at risk. In this blog, you’ll learn more about this common condition and how it’s much easier to treat than you may have realized. It’s information that just might save your life!
What Are the Risk Factors For Sleep Apnea?
The most commonly known risk factors for sleep apnea still apply, such as age, obesity, a large neck circumference, nasal congestion, and alcohol or sedative use.
But what researchers have learned recently might surprise you: Even people you would never suspect of having sleep apnea, such as endurance athletes, can still suffer from it. This puts a lot of stress on their heart and greatly increases their risk for heart disease or even a heart attack.
To complicate matters further, because these patients don’t fit the traditional profile of someone with sleep apnea, they don’t get tested – and therefore, don’t get treated either.
How Can Sleep Apnea Be Diagnosed and Treated?
The good news in all of this is that you can schedule a consultation with a dentist who provides sleep apnea treatment and can refer you for a sleep study to determine whether you have sleep apnea.
If you’re diagnosed, there are multiple treatment options. For many years, a CPAP machine or surgery were the only choices patients had. Now, custom-made oral appliances are very effective in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea.
These appliances are lightweight, portable and much easier to tolerate than a CPAP machine. They work by repositioning the lower jaw and tongue to open the airway at night.
Sleep apnea can be fatal, even in otherwise healthy people who would never suspect that they have it. But with early diagnosis and treatment, it can be well managed and controlled.
In addition to sleeping better and improving your quality of life, you can increase your quantity of life as well!
About the Author
Dr. Fred Farahi is a general and restorative dentist who has made sleep apnea treatment a priority in his practice. He knows that sleep apnea can have dangerous unforeseen consequences and is happy to offer oral appliances that reduce the risks associated with it. If you think you may have sleep apnea and have any additional questions, he can be contacted at (703) 821-1633.