Getting diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea can be difficult to take and even worrisome, but knowing the cause
can make the diagnosis and treatment a bit easier to handle. If you know what may be causing the problem, it gives you the option of being proactive in seeking things that can reduce how much it affects your body. Instead of sitting there and just trying to work with a diagnosis that doesn’t make sense or frightens you, take a little time and learn what may be causing your sleep apnea so you can work on helping yourself feel, and sleep, better.
Understanding What Obstructive Sleep Apnea Means
If you get diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, that means that you have gone through a sleep study and doctors were able to note breaks in your breathing while you were asleep that lasted at least ten seconds. During that ten or more seconds, your body went without you taking a breath, which means your body did not have as much oxygen going through it as it could, and should have. This can cause a lot of problems, including struggling to stay asleep, not feeling rested when you wake up, and in excessive cases, it can even cause death if left untreated. Thankfully, there are a lot of helpful treatment options for sleep apnea, which can help you feel more rested and not struggle to breathe all night long.
What Could Be Causing Your Sleep Apnea?
There are quite a few causes for obstructive sleep apnea, but the most common cause is a person being overweight. This is even more of a problem when a person crosses the line into obesity. The extra weight puts more pressure on the throat when you are trying to sleep, and causes the opening of the throat to narrow. This can make it harder for you to sleep, and it can require that you have pressure going through your airway to keep it open as a form of treatment. If your weight is not the cause of your sleep apnea, it could also be from having a tongue that is bigger than most to where it slips back into the throat when you sleep, a thin neck that makes your throat narrowed naturally, having a very thick neck which can also narrow your throat, or swollen glands in your neck due to your body fighting off some type of an infection. Smoking and drinking can also cause issues when you breathe at night, and should be avoided at all costs when you think you have sleep apnea, as it can make your condition worse.
Common Causes of Sleep Apnea If Your Child Is the One Who Was Diagnosed
If your child was diagnosed with sleep apnea, then you should know that children have a few different causes to consider. Most children do not have the same degree of obstructive sleep apnea that adults do, but sleep apnea can be more problematic when it is diagnosed in children because it can be harder to treat. Some common causes of sleep apnea in children include adenoids and tonsils that are swollen, exceptionally large overbites, and even some specific genetic conditions like Down Syndrome. These conditions can leave your child with a partially obstructed or narrowed airway to begin with, making it to where sleep apnea happens as a result. In cases like this, it is best to consider getting the adenoids or tonsils removed, or having an appliance that keeps the airway open while your child sleeps. Just like in adults, you can also have childhood sleep apnea if you are overweight or obese. If your child is heavy, it is best to help your child learn how to take care of his or her body at a young age, and work with their pediatrician to allow them to eat right and lose weight naturally. Losing the weight now can help them avoid being stuck with sleep apnea their entire lives.
Getting Diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Allows You to Find Relief
When you finally get the right diagnosis, it can help you finally get to the point of getting solid sleep each night. It can make your life easier, and allow you to not only function better, but also feel better because you are not struggling to breathe and sleep each night. Make sure that you speak with both your dentist and your doctor following an obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis, so you know what to expect and how to approach anything new that comes up.
For help with managing or diagnosing obstructive sleep apnea in or around Frederick, Maryland, contact Jeffrey W. Cross, D.D.S., F.A.G.D. He can be reached by calling (301) 662-0300 and you can also schedule an appointment at the same time.