Healthy Living

What to Know About Sleep Apnea

What is There to Know About Sleep Apnea

What to Know About Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea usually refers to pauses that occur while sleeping due to obstruction of the airways, which can cause a variety of problems, such as diabetes, gout, and heart disease.

It is not an uncommon issue, actually; an estimated 30 million adult Americans suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea, which can cause high blood pressure, cardiac disease, and even diabetes, one of the most prevalent health risks. Furthermore, people affected by sleep apnea are up to four times more likely to be involved in car accidents than people who do not suffer from it.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine states sleep apnea is a “hidden” health crisis costing America billions of dollars each year. It is a problem frequently seen in overweight, middle-aged men, which is a worrying fact since more than 35% of the country is considered obese.

This is now considered a common issue that affects more than half the adult male population and one out of every four women. Sadly, most of the time it goes unnoticed by the very people who have it. Sleep apnea is also becoming prevalent in children as well due to a lack of breastfeeding and eating too many processed foods.

But the good news is there are ways to treat these breathing issues that do not necessarily involve the use of CPAP. Two such treatments that offer hope are oral myofascial therapy and techniques to breathe properly while one is awake. During childhood, it is important to treat any breathing problems since it can lead to serious health issues later in life. During the early years, parents should pay attention to what their children eat and ensure that infants are breastfed so as to avoid these issues in the first place.

The risk of sleep apnea is greater in women than in men. Obstructive sleep apnea is also associated with increased troponin T, cardiac issues like heart failure, and death in females. Not many realize that the shape of one’s mouth plays an important role in the development of this disorder. When the shape of the mouth is too small, it makes it difficult for the tongue to settle into the right position. This frequently happens to those who were raised on formula milk and processed foods. Breastfeeding is important because it helps expand the size of the baby’s palate as well as moves the jaw forward. These two important factors can prevent the onset of sleep apnea by providing more breathing space.

Having an abnormally short lingual frenulum is said to hinder orofacial growth during early childhood, which reduces the width of the larynx upper respiratory tract. Researchers found that  children with an untreated short frenulum developed abnormal tongue function and also experienced an impact on tongue growth. One of the biggest reasons why sleep apnea goes unnoticed is because doctors do not screen for it during regular visits.

Once the correct diagnosis for sleep apnea is obtained, the next step involves visiting a lab or performing a home sleep test. Treatment is based on the severity of the condition. Oral devices can be used to prevent obstruction of the airways, and in severe cases, the doctor may opt for CPAP machines. It is also important to raise awareness and encourage people to get tested for sleep apnea if it is suspected.