Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), characterized by the restriction of your airway while you sleep, affects around 20 million Americans. Caused by a narrow airway, thick neck, or the tissue at the back of your throat (including your tonsils), sleep apnea is extremely common in people who suffer from obesity. OSA restricts airflow, prevents proper oxygenation of your blood, and causes numerous health problems including heart disease.
Sleep apnea is incredibly dangerous for a part of the population you do not think of when you think of OSA—athletes. Because athletes are usually in good shape, we don’t think as being at risk. However, it’s more common than you think and their athletic lifestyles combined with OSA can cause serious health consequences, including death.
What causes this risk?
OSA often causes a thickening in the heart walls. Because athletes challenge their hearts during the day when they perform cardio and their hearts face OSA challenges at night, they undergo excessive cardiovascular strain. In fact, the combination creates a coronary time bomb.
Since snoring is not always a symptom of sleep apnea, you need to create awareness for the other signs like daytime fatigue, unexplained high blood pressure, memory problems, waking up frequently to urinate, and headaches upon waking. Other symptoms include a low sex drive, a dry mouth or throat, and depression.
Sleep apnea is dangerous for anyone who goes undiagnosed and untreated, but especially dangerous for those who push their cardiovascular system regularly. Even if your weight is normal and you lead and active lifestyle, you may be at risk for sleep apnea. If you suspect you have a sleep disorder, talk to your doctor, who can write you a referral for a sleep clinic where you can receive a proper diagnosis.
What can Keledjian Dental do to help?
Dr. Jason Keledjian treats OSA through oral appliance therapy, a highly effective treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea. Contact our office today by calling or sending an email and we will be glad to get you scheduled!