What causes Sleep Apnea?
Understanding the risk factors associated with sleep apnea is crucial for early identification and intervention. Certain elements can significantly increase the likelihood of developing this sleep disorder. Identifying and addressing these risk factors is a proactive step toward managing sleep apnea and improving overall sleep health. Let’s delve into the key factors that may contribute to the development of sleep apnea:
- Excess Weight: Obesity is a significant risk factor, as it can lead to the accumulation of fatty deposits around the neck, narrowing the airway.
- A Narrowed Airway: Some individuals naturally have a narrower airway due to genetics or physical attributes.
- Being Male: Men are more likely to have sleep apnea than women, though the risk for women increases if they are overweight, and it also rises during pregnancy and after menopause.
- Being Older: Sleep apnea occurs more frequently in older adults.
- Smoking: Smokers are at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea.
- Alcohol, Sedatives, and Tranquilizers: These substances relax the muscles in your throat, increasing the risk of obstructed airflow.
- Nasal Congestion: If you struggle with breathing through your nose due to a structural issue or congestion, you may be at risk.
- Family History: Genetics can contribute to the likelihood of developing sleep apnea.
- Medical Conditions: High blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and insulin-resistant diabetes may increase your risk.
- Fibromyalgia: This condition may be associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea.
- Stroke: A history of stroke can be a risk factor for central sleep apnea.
When to Seek Testing
If you experience one or more of the symptoms mentioned above, especially if you have several risk factors, it’s advisable to book a consultation with any of our 3 clinics. Our team of sleep specialists is dedicated to understanding your unique sleep patterns and addressing your specific concerns.
We provide Level 3 Sleep studies at all of our locations. It’s a non-invasive overnight test that records your oxygen levels, heart rate, airflow, snoring, and other parameters while you are asleep. This important step aims to determine if you have a sleep disorder and what treatment may best suit your needs.
The sleep study is conducted in your own home. Once you book an appointment, you will be asked to stop by the clinic and pick up the necessary equipment to take with you. Along with the appropriate equipment, you will receive detailed instructions on performing the test from a sleep study technician. Once complete, the sleep study will be scored by trained polysomnography experts and then interpreted by a Respirologist.
The Importance of Timely Testing
Diagnosing sleep apnea is crucial because untreated sleep apnea can have serious consequences for your health. It has been linked to conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and an increased risk of accidents due to daytime sleepiness.
Treatment options vary depending on the severity and type of sleep apnea but often include:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP therapy is the standard gold treatment for sleep apnea. By using a CPAP machine, your airway will remain open while you sleep so you can receive the oxygen you need for optimal function and experience a whole night of uninterrupted sleep.
Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BPAP)
BPAP therapy primarily treats Central Sleep Apnea, Hypoventilation Syndrome, and other neuromuscular diseases requiring airway support during sleep. The key difference between a CPAP device and a BPAP device is that BPAP devices offer different air pressure levels for inhalation and exhalation, whereas CPAP devices have the same air pressure for both.
We carry a variety of PAP devices and accessories that ensure functionality and comfort for you at all Breathe Well Clinic locations. Our trained team of professionals will help you every step of the way in finding the right device with the right accessories according to your needs.
Losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sedatives, sleeping on your side, and treating nasal congestion are among the lifestyle changes that can help manage sleep apnea.
These options are not for treating moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. A sleep study must first be completed to rule out the possibility of obstructive sleep apnea before the use of oral appliances.
In some cases, surgery may be recommended to remove excess tissue from the throat or repair structural abnormalities.
In conclusion, if you’ve ever questioned whether you should be tested for sleep apnea, the answer is simple: if you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s time to seek help. Breathe Well is here to make that journey easy, personalized, and effective. Don’t let sleep apnea disrupt your life; take the first step toward better sleep and better health.