The more you know about sleep apnea, the better equipped you’ll be to deal with it if you ever experience it. However, while plenty of people have heard of this disorder, they often don’t fully realize how widespread it truly is – or how dangerous it can be in terms of your overall health. If you’d like to brush up on your sleep apnea knowledge, here are 6 facts that you might not have known.
1. It Is Believed That the Vast Majority of Sleep Apnea Cases are Undiagnosed
It’s difficult to give an accurate estimate of exactly how many people currently have sleep apnea because the disorder goes undiagnosed more often than not. Some researchers think that as many as 90% of people who are suffering from sleep apnea don’t even know that they have it. Oftentimes, this is due to dismissing common sleep apnea symptoms like snoring as mere annoyances rather than as a sign that something is wrong.
2. Sleep Apnea Can Stop Your Breathing Hundreds of Times in One Night
Sleep apnea might be classified as “mild”, “moderate”, or “severe” based on how often pauses in your breathing occur. In the most severe cases, breathing might be interrupted hundreds of times a night. What makes this fact even more alarming is that each interruption forces your body to awaken (very briefly, so you likely won’t realize it), which makes it virtually impossible for you to get quality sleep. Consequently, many people with sleep apnea constantly feel exhausted.
3. Sleep Apnea is More Common in Men but Affects Women Too
Some studies estimate that around 24% of men have obstructive sleep apnea. At the same time, it is thought that around 9% of women also have the disorder. In short, sleep apnea is more common in men, but women can also be at risk.
4. Obesity is a Major Risk Factor, but It’s Not the Only One
People who are obese are significantly more likely to suffer from sleep apnea due to the presence of fat deposits in the neck that can block the airway. However, even if you’re not overweight, there are other factors that might put you at risk for the disorder, such as the size of your neck or whether you drink alcohol before bed.
5. Untreated Sleep Apnea Leads to Higher Mortality Risks
Sleep apnea can lead to heart failure and various other complications; it can also cause you to drift off while driving, leading to deadly accidents. If sleep apnea isn’t dealt with promptly, it could very easily lead to premature death.
6. Sleep Apnea Can Often Be Effectively Treated with an Oral Appliance
So how can your sleep apnea be treated? CPAP therapy is the most well-known option, but in many cases, you can also use an oral appliance to make sure that your nightly slumber remains uninterrupted. If you’re interested in using an oral appliance for sleep apnea, talk to your dentist.
About the Author
Dr. Rashpal Deol knows each patient has their own unique needs, which is part of why he has extensive training in all dental specialties. Among the many services he offers at Oak Ridge Dental in San Ramon, he is proud to provide oral appliances as a solution for sleep apnea. If you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Deol, visit his website or call (925) 735-6190.