Are You at Risk for Sleep Apnea in Lincoln?
Sleep apnea affects over 20 million Americans each night. Does this include you? One shocking statistic is that about 80% of everyone with sleep apnea is either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Why is this the case? While sleep apnea is relatively common (and becoming more so with each passing year), the average person typically knows very little about it and what the risk factors are. To learn more about what sleep apnea in Lincoln actually is, you can read our full page about it here. On this page, your sleep dentist, Dr. Claire Haag, is going to share some of the leading risk factors of sleep apnea you should keep an eye out for so you can stay ahead of the disorder.
Who is Most at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
While pretty much anyone can develop sleep apnea, there are a few things that can put you at a higher risk, including:
- Excess Weight: About half of the people with sleep apnea are also overweight or obese. Increased mass and fat deposits on the throat can restrict the airway.
- Chronic Nasal Congestion: If you frequently experience nasal congestion or have a deviated septum, this can narrow the airway and make sleep apnea more likely to occur.
- Smoking: People who smoke are much more likely to develop sleep apnea than those who don’t.
- Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Consuming alcohol within three hours of going to bed can cause the muscles in the throat to over relax and obstruct the airway during sleep.
- Diabetes: Much like smoking, people with diabetes tend to experience sleep apnea more frequently than the average population.
- Gender: Men are twice as likely to develop sleep apnea than women.
- Age: People over 50 have higher rates of sleep apnea.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea That Are Not Easy To Spot
While the above risk factors are typically easy to notice, there are quite a few that can be a little more hidden, such as:
- A Narrowed Airway: Due to large tonsils, adenoids, or a larger than average neck or tongue.
- Hypertension: Sleep apnea is very common for people with high blood pressure.
- A Family History of Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea itself isn’t hereditary, but some of the risk factors that can lead to it are.
- Medications: Certain medications for depression or heart issues can make a person more susceptible to sleep apnea.
How Can I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
If any of these risk factors sound familiar to you, you should keep an eye out for some of the most common sleep apnea symptoms:
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Daytime exhaustion despite the amount of sleep you get
- Waking up in the middle of the night gasping or out of breath
- Frequent morning headaches and sore throats
- Uncontrollable mood swings or depression
- Difficulty focusing or remembering things
- Sexual dysfunction
What To Do If You Think You Have Sleep Apnea
If you suspect that you may have sleep apnea, you should immediately seek out professional help. Fortunately, you can begin this process in mere minutes by taking our short sleep quiz. This quiz is specially designed to help us determine a person’s risk for sleep apnea. After you complete it, our team will evaluate your answers and contact you within 24 hours to let you know if you should come see us for a consultation. From there, we’ll guide you through the entire process of getting a proper diagnosis and starting treatment.
Sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder, but it is also very treatable. If you believe you are suffering from sleep apnea or may be at risk for it, please take our sleep quiz or contact us today to learn more. It could be the first step to safeguarding not only your sleep, but your health as well.