Sleep Apnea FAQs
How Much Do You Know About Sleep Apnea?
Many people don’t even realize they’re suffering from a sleep disorder at first. That’s why it’s important to take the time to learn everything you can about sleep apnea, from how to recognize it to how to treat it. Dr. Pamela West is here to answer all your questions when it comes to sleep-related breathing disorders. On this page, you’ll find the answers to just a few of the most common sleep apnea questions; if you have any concerns of your own, schedule your free consultation with us today!
Am I at a Higher Risk for Sleep Apnea?
Some people are more likely to develop sleep apnea than others. Common risk factors include:
- Age: Sleep disorders are more common in adults who are middle-aged or older.
- Obesity: Weight tends to be a major contributor to sleep apnea, as there tends to be more tissue present that can block your airway.
- Anatomy: A structural abnormality in the sinuses, mouth, or throat can lead to breathing problems at night.
- Gender: While both men and women can suffer from any sleep-related disorder, men have a higher risk for sleep apnea in particular.
Is Snoring Always a Sign of Sleep Apnea?
While snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, the two aren’t always linked. About 90 million Americans snore, but only about half of them suffer from sleep apnea. In general, if your snoring is very loud and is occasionally interrupted by gasping for air or choking sounds, it’s likely connected to a sleep disorder. (Of course, you’ll probably need someone else to listen for these symptoms.) There are rare occasions where sleep apnea doesn’t cause snoring, but you might still recognize warning signs of the disorder, such as waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air or constantly feeling sleepy throughout the day.
What Happens If I Choose Not to Treat Sleep Apnea?
Ignoring sleep apnea can be very dangerous and might even shorten your life. The disorder tends to be associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and depression; the longer it’s left alone, the worse your overall health will become. But even ignoring that, the lack of quality sleep will frequently leave you feeling drowsy during the day. There’s a chance you could doze off at important moments, such as when driving or operating heavy equipment at work. These consequences only become more likely the longer you live with your sleep apnea, which is why you should have it diagnosed and treated by Dr. West sooner instead of later!
How Can I Treat Sleep Apnea at Home?
In addition to CPAP therapy and oral appliance therapy, there are a few other methods you can use to try and reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. Sleeping on your side instead of on your back, for example, helps keep the airway clear. Depending on your situation, we might also suggest losing weight or cutting down on your alcohol intake.