Sleep Apnea Austin

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is caused by constricted or obstructed airways in the back of the throat. This causes temporary pauses in breathing, which sends a signal to the brain to jolt the individual awake abruptly. Despite the fact that this seems like something you would remember, sleep apnea sufferers are often unaware that their sleep has been interrupted.

Several, or even dozens, of these jarring awakenings may occur throughout the night. This causes what appears to be an inexplicable fatigue during the day and can result in irritability, memory problems, and impaired brain function. As sleep apnea can result in a change in hormone secretion, it can cause other health complications as well.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea can potentially be caused by a variety of factors.

  • Structural Issues – Sleep apnea may be caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids (which is often the case in children with sleep apnea), mandible misalignment or size, or simply having smaller airways. Even the structure of your mouth’s roof could be a factor.
  • Family History – Similar to the structural issues mentioned previously, the structure of your airways and face may be inherited. If you have a family history of sleep apnea, your risk is increased.
  • Obesity – The most prevalent risk factor associated with sleep apnea is obesity. Fat deposition around the pharynx and in the neck narrows the airways, making it more difficult to breathe.
  • Diabetes – Patients with type 2 diabetes are nearly 50 percent more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Insulin resistance is frequently associated with obesity, but it may also increase the risk of sleep apnea.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol consumption relaxes the muscles in the mouth and esophagus, which can lead to obstructive sleep apnea.
    Smoking – Smoking causes inflammation in the upper airway, which impairs both breathing function and communication between the brain and muscles responsible for respiration.
  • Chronic Nasal Congestion – Regardless of the underlying cause, obstructive sleep apnea is more likely to develop if you have persistent nasal congestion.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

A number of symptoms you may be experiencing could indicate that you are suffering from sleep apnea.

  • Excessive snoring
  • Choking or abrupt snorting sounds during the night
  • Waking up gasping for breath
  • Insomnia
  • Waking up with headaches
  • Severe daytime fatigue

Contact Austin Family Dentistry right away if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. We can investigate during a consultation and determine if sleep apnea is causing your issues.

Preventing Sleep Apnea

If you want to help prevent sleep apnea, the first step is to make certain lifestyle adjustments that will not only help with your sleep, but lead to improved general health.

Adopting a healthful diet is arguably the most effective solution. Choosing healthful options, such as fruits and vegetables and avoiding highly processed foods, can reduce the risk of sleep apnea and improve overall health. An improved night’s sleep devoid of sleep apnea can also be achieved by quitting or at least reducing smoking and alcohol consumption.

Regular exercise can reduce the risk of sleep apnea even among obese individuals. Exercise aids in the reduction of fluid retention, which can disrupt your sleep when lying down at the end of the day.

Another possible preventative measure for sleep apnea is a change in resting position. When you sleep on your side instead of your back, your tongue and mouth are in a position that prevents airways from becoming obstructed.

Keep in mind that sleep apnea can eventually lead to issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, fatigue-related illness, and other severe medical issues. Changing your lifestyle may seem difficult, but it is worth the health benefits and sleep benefits.

Sleep Apnea Solutions

Oral appliances are now recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as initial treatment methods for snoring and sleep apnea in cases where CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) has not been tolerated. Oral appliances fit wholly within the mouth, are portable, do not require electricity, and do not produce noise that would disturb a sleeping companion. They also permit a variety of sleeping positions. Some FDA-approved treatment options for both obstructive sleep apnea and snoring include EMA, TAP, and Clearsleep.

Sleep Apnea Consultation

If sleep apnea is a concern, contact Austin Family Dentistry immediately. We can help determine the cause, provide suggestions for resolving the issue naturally, or provide an oral treatment option. Call us today to get started on the path to improved sleep and increased vitality.