Anyone can be diagnosed with sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing, even young children. However, there are certain key risk factors that everyone should be aware of and seek treatment if present to ensure the proper diagnosis and address any associated health risks. It may be of significant concern if several factors are present in a patient, as is often the case when diagnosed late in adulthood.
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
- Being male
- Over the age of 45
- Overweight, obese
- A large neck circumference
- Large tonsils
- Family history of OSA
- Hypertensive, high blood pressure
Dr. Harper will look for these and other visible risk factors and signs of sleep apnea, which can also include worn or damaged teeth. Patients who have OSA often grind their teeth or clench their jaw. They may also sleep with their mouth open, which increases dry mouth and can cause halitosis and mouth sores over time.
Routine visits with Dr. Harper for preventive dental care can allow us to monitor your overall health, changes in the condition of your oral health and to discuss concerns you may have about your physical well being. Sleep apnea can detrimentally impact your daily quality of life in many ways and often affects the sleep quality for your sleep partner. Discuss any lifestyle habits or concerns you have during your next dental care visit or during your consultation for sleep apnea so that we can provide the most personalized care for your needs.
Sleep Apnea: What Are the Risks?
It is equally important for patients to fully understand the health risks associated with sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing. OSA can significantly increase your risk for a range of health concerns and over time can become life-threatening if untreated. Patients who have sleep apnea may also find it more difficult to manage existing disease due to the impact that poor sleep has on their body’s ability to function at its best.
Sleep apnea can increase the risk for sudden heart attack and stroke due to the continual oxygen deprivation that occurs during sleep. Obtaining a proper diagnosis and the right treatment for your sleep apnea is the key to restoring a better quality of life, decreasing your risk for other health problems and improving overall wellness.