Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be a serious, multifaceted health risk. Because you’re asleep, you may not know that this sleep disturbance is active. You may need to rely on your spouse to tell you of breathing interruptions if they notice any, or certain symptoms could be clues.
You may not think of RR Dentistry as a go-to partner in sleep apnea treatment. However, we’re sleep dentistry professionals and we can help you with custom-made oral appliances to adjust your jaw for clearer airways through the night, defeating the snoring and sleep interruptions you’ve experienced.
How do you know if you have sleep apnea? Here, we look at the signs and symptoms that hint that OSA is active and interfering with your good night’s sleep, a key part of rest and recovery.
What is sleep apnea?
Essentially, your breathing cycle stops when you have sleep apnea. Your brain wakes you up enough to restart the flow of air, but you may not always be aware enough to know this has happened. You could have dozens of breathing stoppages through the night, but it’s hard to know how severe your apnea might be.
There are two types of sleep apnea, and it’s possible to have a combination of both. Central sleep apnea results when your brain’s autonomic system malfunctions and your body doesn’t get the correct signals to breathe normally.
More common is OSA. The flow of air is physically blocked, or obstructed, by relaxing or collapsing soft tissue in the back of your throat. OSA is the condition that benefits most from oral appliances that adjust your jaw position for better airflow.
Obstructive sleep apnea risk factors
Because you might not know what’s happening when you’re asleep, recognizing the risk factors for OSA helps you assess the likelihood that you have the condition, in combination with your symptoms.
Common OSA risk factors include:
- Being overweight: Deposits of fat around your throat can add to the tissue that blocks air
- Gender: Men are more than twice as likely to have OSA than women
- Age: Getting older increases your chances of developing OSA
- Genetics: If others in your family have the condition, your risk increases
- Smoking: This habit triples your risk of OSA
- Alcohol use: It adds to post-sleep tissue relaxation
- Medical conditions: Congestive heart failure, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and polycystic ovary syndrome can increase OSA risk
Respiratory infections that feature congestion as a symptom as well as seasonal allergies can cause OSA conditions that come and go or that become more severe.
Obstructive sleep apnea symptoms
If you have OSA risk factors but no symptoms, you may not have the condition. One or more of the following signs could be a clue that you have sleep apnea:
- Loud snoring, which may be irregular and uneven
- Waking up gasping for air from time to time
- Periods of breathing stoppages that your partner notices
- Dry Mouth
- Daytime drowsiness
- Concentration difficulties when awake
Any symptom you associate with interrupted sleep could be an indicator of OSA.
Talk about your symptoms with our sleep apnea specialists at RR Dentistry in Georgetown, Texas. Connect with us online or by phone today to get answers and treatment so you get the quality rest you need.