If you snore at night and remain tired throughout the day, you may suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea affects millions of men and women across the country, and occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the throat blocks the ability to breathe while you sleep. Although sleep apnea causes many to lose the sleep they need, there are certain factors that may increase your risk of developing it.
Sleep Apnea Risk Factors
Sleep apnea affects more men over the age of 60 than anyone else. However, people of African descent or those with a family history also have an increased risk. Although these risk factors are out of sufferers hands, there are other lifestyle choices that increase the risk of sleep apnea. These factors include:
- Excessive alcohol use
- Being overweight
- Use of narcotics or tranquilizers
To avoid increasing your risk of sleep apnea due to lifestyle factors, the best thing to do is lead a more healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods, getting exercise regularly, and reducing or eliminating smoking and drinking alcohol use, as well as avoiding narcotics are the best ways to reduce the risks of sleep apnea.
Untreated sleep apnea can contribute to some serious health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, and depression, but there are ways to protect your health if you already suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea. Although the gold standard is use of a CPAP machine, Whitmore Dental offers alternatives to this through oral appliances. This custom-fitted device is worn like a mouth guard at night and works by adjusting your jaw, and keeping your soft tissue from collapsing and causing you to stop breathing.
If you would like to learn more about what to do for your sleep apnea, contact Janet or Rachel at Whitmore Dental to arrange a consultation by calling Whitmore Dental at 877-779-4486. We are conveniently located at 5932 West Parker Road, Suite 600, Plano, TX 75093.