If you snore loudly and are extremely tired throughout the day, even if you feel like you had a good night’s sleep, then you may be experiencing a sleep condition called obstructive sleep apnea. If you think you have this condition, you need to see your doctor for a full exam and testing to diagnose and treat it. Read on to learn more about obstructive sleep apnea and what causes it.
Obstructive sleep apnea is just one type of sleep apnea, but it is the most common one. It occurs when your throat muscles relax. Loud snoring, choking or gasping for air while you sleep, night sweats, waking with a sore throat or dry mouth, and frequent dull headaches when you wake in the morning are all signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
People who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for developing sleep apnea. People with narrowed airways or thick necks, you are at increased risk. If you drink alcohol or use sedatives, you are more likely to develop sleep apnea. This is because these relax the throat muscles and encourage nocturnal airway collapse. Smokers are more likely to develop sleep apnea as well.
Men are twice as likely than women to suffer from sleep apnea. Women are at elevated risk after menopause. Age and genetics also play roles as older adults and patients who have family members with sleep apnea are at greater risk.
Treatment options for sleep apnea continue to evolve. In addition to the traditional bulky CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines, oral appliances are growing in popularity as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to excessive daytime fatigue, memory and concentration problems, mood swings, and depression and anxiety. With proper treatment and changes to lifestyle, including smoking cessation, reduction in alcohol consumption and maintaining a healthy weight, you can find relief from your symptoms. If you believe you may have sleep apnea, schedule an appointment by calling our office at 713-425-1302 today.