Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Diagnoses of this disorder have increased by over 850 percent in the last five years, according to FAIR Health. Do you snore loudly and feel tired after a full night’s rest? If your answer is yes, then you may be at risk of developing sleep apnea.
Continue reading to learn how you can prevent this disorder.
Sleep Apnea Is a Public Health Concern
If you have sleep apnea, then you repeatedly stop breathing in your sleep for about ten seconds, which can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night. Some people don’t realize they have it, and they can sleep without a problem; however, they might experience excessive daytime sleepiness.
Undiagnosed sleep apnea has been linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease. Moreover, daytime sleepiness can result in mistakes at work and an increased risk of car accidents. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims it’s a public health epidemic.
Unfortunately, sleep apnea is difficult to diagnose on your own. If you suspect you have it, ask a loved one to monitor your sleep before you turn to a professional. Alternately, you can record your sleep and listen to your snoring.
Sleep Apnea Prevention
Currently, there’s no direct method to prevent sleep apnea, but there are tips you can follow to reduce its likelihood. Consider the following five strategies:
Number One: Stay Fit: Obesity is one of the leading causes of sleep apnea, so shedding a few pounds will help you combat it. If you’ve already been diagnosed with it, working out a few days a week can make the symptoms less severe.
Number Two: Avoid Sedatives: Taking over-the-counter and prescription sleeping pills will make breathing difficult, which puts you at a higher risk of sleep apnea. If you need to take muscle relaxants or antipsychotic medication, and you have this condition, tell your doctor to lower your dosage.
Number Three: Limit Alcohol: Drinking alcohol multiple times a week can slow down your breathing, even if you’re in shape. Moreover, if you also consume caffeine and nicotine, your sleep becomes fragmented; this increases your risk for weight gain and developing heart conditions. You don’t have to cut off alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine entirely, but if you’re consuming them daily, you should reduce your usage.
Number Four: Invest in a Breathing Device: One of the most common treatment options for sleep apnea is using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It consists of a mask connected to a small fan-like device, which you will have to wear while sleeping. A CPAP machine will blow air into your airways to keep them open.
Number Five: Talk to Your Dentist: If you’ve used a CPAP machine, but it didn’t help, you will need to visit your dentist. They can recommend you to an oral surgeon who can provide you with an appliance to pull your jaw forward, which will create an open airway while you sleep.
Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah
If you have sleep apnea, you should consult with an experienced oral surgeon who can determine if you need jaw surgery. Undergoing jaw surgery will expand your airways, which can ease your condition. Schedule your consultation with the board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah today.