Understanding what sleep apnea is and why it occurs is essential when seeking professional treatment. We believe that patient education is crucial to achieving optimum health. Here at Silent Sleep RX, we want to make sure that our patients are well informed about sleep apnea and its contributing factors.
That’s why we have created a list of the most frequently asked questions about sleep apnea. Our goal is to help our patients understand the ins and outs of the sleep disorder in order to provide more clarity and prepare them for treatment.
What Causes An Airway Obstruction?
There are various reasons for an obstructed airway. In fact, some of them may simply be out of your control. Factors such as obesity and a genetic difference such as an enlarged neck can cause an obstruction which results in sleep apnea. An individual who lives with obesity often develops sleep apnea due to enlarged tissues in the throat or mouth.
What Increases Your Risk of OSA?
While some risks that increase your chances of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may be genetic such as a narrow airway, family history, diabetes, and high blood pressure, others may come as a result of unhealthy habits. These habits include the constant use of tobacco and alcohol as well as poor weight management and lack of exercise.
Does My Snoring Mean I Have Sleep Apnea?
Snoring is not always an indicator of an existing sleep disorder. While it is a symptom that often develops in patients with sleep apnea, snoring can occur as a result of various conditions such as your sleep position, age, the medication you’re taking, lack of sleep, or even alcohol consumption before bed. Consulting a sleep specialist about your snoring can help answer your questions or concerns and get you the right treatment to alleviate symptoms.
Does CPAP Work For Everyone?
No. Simply put, the CPAP is not the ideal form of treatment for everyone living with sleep apnea. While it is the most common form of treatment, many patients experience great difficulty adjusting to the face mask. Problems or side effects associated with using a CPAP machine include dry sinuses and headaches. If you’re currently using a CPAP machine for treatment but find it uncomfortable, contact Dr. MacFarlane for an alternative treatment option.
What Should You Do If You Suspect You May Have Sleep Apnea?
If you think you or your partner is living with undiagnosed sleep apnea, getting an official diagnosis is extremely important. At our Red Bank dental office, Dr. MacFarlane works with local health professionals to conduct a sleep study and analyze the results for an accurate diagnosis.
Can Sleep Apnea Go Away Without Treatment?
Unfortunately, sleep apnea will not miraculously disappear if you ignore it. It’s a serious condition that can lead to a number of secondary health problems and even death when left untreated. Getting a proactive diagnosis and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is the best way to improve your quality of life and protect your overall health. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can also make a positive impact.
If you’re suffering from obesity, implementing an exercise regimen and healthy diet into your daily routine can help you shed excess weight and decrease symptoms of sleep apnea. Additionally, refraining from smoking and drinking alcohol may also help reduce your symptoms.
What Happens If I Don’t Treat My Sleep Apnea?
If sleep apnea treatment is neglected, there are serious and even deadly consequences that may ensue. In fact, sleep apnea has been related to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack risk
- Irregular heartbeats
- Dry mouth
- Decreased libido
- Inability to concentrate