Many people disregard sleep apnea symptoms because they don’t believe it’s that big of a deal. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from the condition, and 80 percent of those cases are undiagnosed. If your sleep apnea is bothering you now, it’ll only get worse as you age, according to a connection made in recent clinical studies. Read on to learn who’s at the greatest risk and why it’s important to treat your sleeping condition before it’s too late.
The Connection Between Aging and Sleep Apnea
The symptoms of sleep apnea get more common with age. One out of two adults over 65 have reported having some form of sleeping difficulties. Sometimes, this can be due to hormonal imbalances that routinely disrupts your sleep, or sleep apnea. A study published by the American Thoracic Society established a trend between sleep apnea and men of different ages. It showed that the sleeping condition is most prevalent in men between the ages of 61 and 100.
It’s believed that the increased fat deposits near the neck area causes more weight to be placed on the airways, limiting airflow. Women who have went through menopause and aren’t on hormone replacement therapy also have a higher risk of developing sleeping conditions. Another study published by the ATS showed that while sleep apnea symptoms increase with age, that doesn’t necessarily mean they become more severe.
Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
While age plays a role in the prevalence and development of sleep apnea symptoms, it isn’t the only factor. There are several risk factors that contribute to the development of obstructive sleep apnea, some of these include:
- Enlarged tonsils
- A naturally narrower throat
- An enlarged tongue
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Tobacco use
- A wide or large neck
- Having a family history of sleep apnea
- Having a deviated septum
Health Problems Caused By Sleep Apnea
If you’re at an increased risk of having sleep apnea, the first step is to schedule a sleep study with a specialist. Without an official diagnosis, you won’t be able to seek treatment. While chronic snoring and feeling a bit drowsy may not seem like a big deal, this sleeping condition can take a massive toll on your body. Obstructive sleep apnea is also responsible for health issues such as:
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of stroke
- Increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure
- Worsening of ADHD
- Dull headaches
Treating your sleep apnea won’t just improve your rest, it’ll also keep your body and mind healthy, benefitting your overall quality of life. When you seek the help and treatment you need, you can reduce your risk of experiencing serious issues and give your family the peace-of-mind they deserve that you’re doing everything you can to stay healthy.
About the Author
Dr. Brian Zulawinski has taken hundreds of hours of continuing education courses on treating sleep apnea and is passionate about restoring his patients’ quality of life. He is an active member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and whole-heartedly believes that oral appliance therapy is one of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea patients. He provides honest and trustworthy care, which is why he only recommends treatments that he believes are the best solution for his patients. For questions or to schedule a consultation to see how sleep apnea therapy can benefit you, visit Sleep Better with Arlington Dental Associates’ website or call 847-253-7477.