While snoring may conjure up playful images of women hitting their spouse or partner with a pillow in the middle of the night, obstructive sleep apnea is no laughing matter. In fact, according to an 18-year study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, individuals with severe, untreated sleep apnea died at a rate more than 3X that of those without sleep apnea.
You can read more about the study here: http://www.uwhealth.org/referring-physician-news/death-rate-triples-for-sleep-apnea-sufferers/13986
What does this mean?
It means that snoring is no laughing matter, and if you think you or a loved one may be suffering from sleep apnea, diagnosis and treatment could potentially prevent a premature death.
A few risk factors that increase your chances of suffering from OSA
According to an article from Mayo Clinic, roughly half of the people who suffer from sleep apnea are overweight. This is likely due to fat deposits around the upper airway that may obstruct breathing in some individuals.
If you are overweight or clinically obese, going on a healthy nutrition and exercise regiment may reduce your risk for developing sleep apnea, or help manage your current condition. And vice versa– treating sleep apnea has been proven to help weight loss.
Large Neck Size
Males with neck circumferences over 17 inches and females with neck circumferences over 16 inches may be increasing their risk of developing sleep apnea. A thick neck with excessive fat deposits can narrow your airway, making breathing a struggle.
If you have a larger neck and find yourself waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air on occasion, you should visit a sleep apnea treatment specialist immediately.
Being a Male
Quite simply, men are twice as likely to suffer from sleep apnea symptoms as women. If your husband or significant other snores and exhibits other risk factors listed in this article, you may want to encourage him to get checked out.
High Blood Pressure
Obstructive sleep apnea and hypertension often go hand in hand. If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea may be higher than those who do not have high blood pressure.
Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health. It can ruin your teeth, lungs, heart, and much more. There are a variety of programs on the market to help smokers quit, and while it’s easier said than done, building up the courage and determination to quit smoking could save your life.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, excessive consumption of alcohol can lengthen the duration of sleep apnea episodes. This is a serious issue that you can read more about here: http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa41.htm
The bottom line: Do not consume alcohol close to bedtime as it can lead to obstructive sleep apnea episodes.
What’s the next step?
If you are currently experiencing any of the above risk factors, we encourage you to contact your doctor for a sleep apnea evaluation. If you are in or around West Babylon, Patchogue, or anywhere along the South Shore of Long Island, we can help.
We provide at-home sleep apnea evaluations for patients who feel they may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. In addition to at-home testing, we also provide alternative treatments to CPAP that have been shown to be very effective (without the use of a loud, bulky CPAP machine).
If you would like to learn more about at-home sleep apnea testing or the oral appliance treatment options we offer, give us a call today to schedule your sleep apnea consultation.