November 15, 2019
According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 18 million adults in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea. A majority of these cases of sleep apnea in Las Vegas go undiagnosed, leaving the issue to only get worse over time, especially if the patients are at an increased risk of experiencing serious symptoms. Without the proper oxygen flow and good quality rest every night, your body won’t have a chance to properly repair itself, leaving you fatigued throughout the day. These symptoms can impact your overall wellbeing, making the condition vital to treat. Read on for four risk factors that could be making your sleep apnea worse.
As if you needed yet another reason to stop smoking cigarettes, smoking can raise your chances of developing sleep apnea. Tobacco is known to irritate oral tissues, including your upper airway, throat, uvula, soft palate, and tongue. These are all vital pieces of your mouth that help control healthy breathing patterns when you sleep. When they’re swollen and irritated due to smoking, it can cause powerful asthma symptoms and narrow your airways, keeping you from having a steady oxygen flow throughout the night.
Deep sleep is an absolute necessity for your body, because it’s able to repair itself and restore your energy. Lost sleep or deprivation can cause apnea symptoms to develop or get worse. During REM sleep, or rapid eye movement, your heightened state of relaxation can cause more severe symptoms. Since your body is craving this kind of sleep, it’ll launch itself into longer and more frequent deep sleep, meaning you’ll experience more of these symptoms throughout the course of the night. This is why it’s important to carve out the recommended eight hours of sleep each night.
The most prominent risk factor for sleep apnea is weight gain. Added weight around your neck and throat can cause your airway to collapse while you’re laying down, blocking proper oxygen flow. This also includes people with thick necks who have extra skin and fat surrounding their airway. Even though folks of all shapes and sizes can develop sleep apnea, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, over 50 percent of people who have sleep apnea are classified as overweight.
While alcohol may help you get to sleep, it’s also a muscle relaxant, which can cause your throat and tongue to narrow too much, causing obstruction and lack of oxygen flow while you’re sleeping. This can result in worsened symptoms such as snoring and uneven breathing patterns.
If you’re concerned that your sleep apnea is getting worse, or you have any of the common symptoms of this condition, such as chronic loud snoring, gasping for air in the middle of the night, or constant fatigue, it’s best to get diagnosed and treated. Without the proper quality of rest, your body isn’t able to repair itself, which can lead to the development of several other health problems.
About the Author
Dr. Pamela West is a sleep apnea expert that has advanced training and experience in repositioning the jaw with customized oral appliances to reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms, promoting a better quality of rest. She is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and works with some of the leading medical experts in Nevada to treat even the most severe cases of sleep apnea. For questions or to schedule a consultation for sleep apnea therapy, visit iSleepSolutions’ website or call 702-602-2000.
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