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Can You Develop Sleep Apnea

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Screening For Sleep Apnea

7 Signs You Have Sleep Apnea & What to Do About It

To screen for sleep apnea or other sleep disorders, your doctor may ask you about common signs and symptoms of this condition, such as how sleepy you feel during the day or when driving, and whether you or your partner has noticed that you snore, stop breathing, or gasp during your sleep. Your doctor may ask questions to assess your risk for developing this condition and take your physical measurements. Your doctor will also want to see whether you have any complications of undiagnosed sleep apnea, such as high blood pressure that is difficult to control. If the screening suggests a sleep breathing disorder, you may get a referral to a sleep specialist to help confirm a diagnosis.

Are There Cpap Machines For Dogs

CPAP machines are a common treatment for humans with sleep apnea. CPAP therapy helps alleviate the problem by delivering oxygen into your airways. The pressurized air is delivered through a mask and a tube that should be worn throughout the night to make sure the symptoms are stopped, and you can get a good nights sleep.

Unfortunately, CPAP machines arent available for your pets yet. Although studies are taking place to see how they could work on dogs and cats, there isnt a commercially available mask or machine for your furry friends just yet. If your dog is struggling with sleep apnea, your best bet is to take them to the vet for professional treatment.

How Common Is Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is estimated to affect between 2-9% of adults in the United States, but many cases are believed to go undiagnosed, which fits with studies that have found considerably higher rates of OSA. Precise prevalence is hard to determine because studies have used different criteria for diagnosing the condition. A consistent finding, though, is that OSA affects men more than women. It can occur in people of any age but is more common in older adults.

Central sleep apnea has been found to affect around .9% of adults over the age of 40. It is found much more frequently in men than in women.

As this data demonstrates, OSA is much more common than CSA. For this reason, when people talk about sleep apnea, they are generally referring to OSA.

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Learn About Other Precautions To Help You Stay Safe

Sleep apnea can increase your risks of complications if you are having surgery, and it can affect your ability to drive.

  • Before surgery. If you are having any type of surgery that requires medicine to put you to sleep or for pain management, let your surgeon and doctors know that you have sleep apnea. They might have to take extra steps to make sure that your upper airway stays open during the surgery and when selecting your pain medicines.
  • Driving precautions. Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can decrease learning capabilities, slow down decision making, and decrease attention span, which can result in drowsy driving.

How Does Sleep Apnea Develop

Can You Develop Sleep Apnea After Pregnancy

Studies show that obstructive sleep apnea impacts millions of people in the United States. Without treatment, their overall health could eventually suffer. Fortunately, we know how to identify and treat OSA. But what causes sleep apnea to develop in the first place? What steps can our Spring, TX, patients take to protect themselves from this serious disorder?

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A Nightly Struggle: Sleep Apnea Symptoms

If you have sleep apnea, your breathing can be affected for 10 to 30 seconds during each apnea. This can happen up to 400 times in one night.

For those who chronically suffer from sleep apnea, each morning/day youll experience symptoms from the above list. The best way to figure out how often your sleep apnea is impacting you, though, is by relying on a partner. If they arent already, ask your partner to inform you of these sleep disturbances.

Despite the severity of your sleep apnea on any given night, receiving treatment prevents future health complications. Leaving your sleeping disorder untreated can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and more.

The most common sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Morning headaches and sore throats
  • Fatigue during the day

Getting Used To Your Cpap Device

Ease into it. Start by using your CPAP device for short periods. Try wearing it for a half hour or an hour while sitting up in bed watching TV or reading a book. Once youve gotten used to that, try using it lying down or when napping.

Use the ramp setting. Most devices can be programmed to start slowly and gradually increase air pressure. The goal is to be asleep before the machine reaches your prescribed pressure setting. Most people find this makes falling asleep much easier and more comfortable.

Reset the machine if air flow wakes you. If a high-pressure stream of air wakes you up, turn the CPAP device on and off to restart the ramp setting.

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What Are The Warning Signs Of Sleep Apnea

If you have a partner, he or she may hear your loud snoring and sudden gasps for air caused by OSA before you do. Still, the toll that restless sleep and decreased oxygen takes may become more noticeable to you during the daytime.

If you often fall asleep while reading, watching TV, working at the computer or sitting in traffic, or if youre feeling especially irritable, impatient and forgetful, its definitely time to talk to your practitioner.

Other signs of OSA include waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth, nighttime sweating and a decreased libido. And people with apnea often experience morning headaches too. So if you find yourself popping a Tylenol as soon as you get out of bed, consider sleep apnea as a possible culprit.

To diagnose sleep apnea, your doctor will evaluate your signs and symptoms and examine your mouth, nose and throat.

He or she may also refer you to a sleep specialist for another test called a polysomnography. This study done at home or in a lab will measure your airflow, breathing patterns, blood oxygen levels and other factors while you sleep to confirm a case of sleep apnea.

Who Does Sleep Apnea Affect

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Sleep apnea is most prevalent in men over the age of 60. However, that statistic can be detrimental, as it means people in other demographics who have the disease often go undiagnosed, since it’s not considered as likely a possibility. For instance, men are twice as likely to get sleep apnea as women, but men are diagnosed with it eight times as often. This means a lot of women who do have it aren’t getting the treatment they need.

Similarly, men over 45 are nearly 4 times more likely to have sleep apnea than men in their 20s, and men over 60 are nearly 6 times more likely. But that doesn’t mean younger men are home free. They should still be vigilant, especially if they start experiencing the symptoms.

Even children can develop sleep apnea, though it’s often less severe. It can be caused by enlarged tonsils, or an overbite, and as their bodies continue growing and developing, they often grow out of it by adulthood.

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Sleep Apnea And Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and globally. Several behaviors increase the risk of heart disease, including eating an unhealthy diet, not getting enough physical activity, drinking too much alcohol, and smoking. Health conditions that increase the risk of heart disease include high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, diabetes, and obesity.

Untreated sleep apnea also significantly increases the risk of heart arrhythmias and cardiovascular disease. Its estimated that patients with sleep apnea are 2-4 four times more likely to develop heart arrhythmias than people without this condition. Sleep apnea increases the risk of heart failure by 140% and the risk of coronary heart disease by 30%.

How Aging Contributes To Sleep Apnea

Not only does your body begin to look different with age, but it also undergoes a number of physical changes that can cause new health problems to arise. One of the risk factors of aging is sleep apnea. Although any person of any age can develop sleep apnea, its a more common problem in age groups. Learn more about how aging contributes to sleep apnea and if your age puts you at a higher risk.

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When breathing stops, oxygen levels in the body drop and carbon dioxide levels rise. This usually triggers the brain to wake us up to breathe. Most of the time, this happens quickly and we go right back to sleep without knowing we woke up.

This pattern can repeat itself all night in obstructive sleep apnea. Because of this, people who have it don’t reach a deeper, more restful level of sleep.

Signs of obstructive sleep apnea in kids include:

  • snoring, often with pauses, snorts, or gasps
  • heavy breathing while sleeping

Because it’s hard for them to get a good night’s sleep, kids might:

  • have a hard time waking up in the morning
  • be tired or fall asleep during the day
  • have trouble paying attention or be hyperactive

As a result, obstructive sleep apnea can hurt school performance. Teachers and others may think a child has ADHD or learning problems.

What Is Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that happens when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night.

If its not treated, sleep apnea can cause a number of health problems, including hypertension , stroke, cardiomyopathy , heart failure, diabetes and heart attacks. Untreated sleep apnea can also be responsible for job impairment, work-related accidents and motor vehicle crashes, as well as underachievement in school in children and adolescents.

There are two types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is the more common of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs as repetitive episodes of complete or partial upper airway blockage during sleep. During an apneic episode, the diaphragm and chest muscles work harder as the pressure increases to open the airway. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp or body jerk. These episodes can interfere with sound sleep, reduce the flow of oxygen to vital organs, and cause heart rhythm irregularities.
  • In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center. Central apnea is related to the function of the central nervous system.

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Whats Happening In Your Throat And Body That Causes Sleep Apnea

As the brain registers that you are not getting enough oxygen, it jolts your body awake to breathe. This is when a person who has obstructive sleep apnea starts breathing normally again with a snort, cough, or gasping or choking sound.

It can often occur in people who have conditions such as a brain infection, stroke, or heart failure, or in people who take certain types of medication, such as opioids or benzodiazepines.


What Are The Health Risks Of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can lead to sleep deprivation from constant nightly interruptions and shallower overall sleep. Lack of sleep is associated with far-reaching health consequences that affect a person physically, mentally, and emotionally, and as a result, it comes as no surprise that sleep apnea has been tied to diverse health problems.

Because of how it affects oxygen balance in the body, untreated sleep apnea raises dangers for various types of cardiovascular issues including high blood pressure, heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.

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Central Sleep Apnea Causes And Risk Factors

Like obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is more common in men and people over the age of 65. But unlike obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea is often associated with serious illness, such as heart disease, stroke, neurological disease, or spinal or brainstem injury. Some people with obstructive sleep apnea can also develop central sleep apnea when theyre being treated with positive airway pressure devices.

Sleep Apnea Health Risks

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As we mentioned already, those with sleep apnea have an increased risk for a variety of other ailments, including cardiovascular disease. This is particularly true in younger patients. Men between the ages of 20 and 30 who have sleep apnea are 10 times more likely to die from heart-related issues than men of the same age who don’t have the disorder. Whereas for sleep apnea patients over 50, there’s no increased risk of heart disease at all.

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What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when the airways collapse during sleep, temporarily blocking airflow and causing involuntary moments of breathlessness or shallow breathing. Temporary pauses in breathing, called apneas, can last anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute or more.

The level of sleep apnea you have is based on the number of times you stop breathing in your sleep. People with mild sleep apnea typically have five to 14 pauses in breathing an hour, those with moderate apnea have 15 to 29 and those with severe sleep apnea have more than 30 episodes an hour.

Obstructive sleep apnea is actually one of three types of apnea. The others are:

  • Central sleep apnea , which occurs when the brain has trouble controlling the muscles necessary for taking in air, leading to slower and more shallow breathing
  • Mixed or complex sleep apnea, a combination of OSA and CSA at the same time

Apnea is often accompanied by a pattern of heavy snoring, which gets louder just before it quiets completely while the airflow stops. After a few seconds, the body reacts to the temporary lack of air with a loud snort or gasp, and then the snoring resumes.

Typically, people with apnea dont wake up fully and dont remember these episodes, though their quality of sleep is greatly affected.

Major Life Changes That Can Trigger Sleep Apnea

Recurrent sinus infections, throat pain, ear fullness and chronic cough are some of the most common conditions that I see every day. You may think that I typically diagnose and treat for routine bacterial infections in these situations, but in most cases, theyre not really infections at all. What I do find, however, is that if you probe and look back at the patients history, theres always some major life change or recent event that acted as a trigger for their symptoms, especially if their upper airway anatomy is already narrowed or predisposed. Here are 5 common examples:

Sleepless nights from a newborn child

The birth of a child is always a joyous event, but everyone knows that your life will change drastically all of a sudden. Your normal routines, eating habits, exercise regimens, and especially the timing for all these events will change. The sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, and bad eating habits can promote weight gain, which can narrow your throat even further. This leads to more problems breathing at night, leading to less efficient sleep, leading to more weight gain. This applies to both the mother and the father.

Its also a common phenomenon where a woman is never able to lose her pregnancy weight, despite extreme dieting or exercise. This leads to less effective sleep, increased fatigue, and various other health-related conditions.

Newfound independence, more depression

A new job or a promotion

Injury or surgery


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Sleep Apnea Treatment In Nashville

Our dentists, Dr. Brian Devine, and Dr. Russell Mack practice sleep apnea dentistry. This is a specialization of dental science that focuses on identifying and treating issues related to the airway. Since any sleep breathing disorder stems from an obstruction in the airway, our dentists treat sleep apnea by addressing the root causethe airway problem itself. We can conduct an airway evaluation to detect the presence of a sleep breathing disorder, and then begin a course of treatment. Our preferred method of treatment is a course of oral appliance therapy, which entails wearing a customized mouthguard that looks similar to an anti-snoring mouthpiece or night guard. When worn, these oral appliances guide the lower jaw forward, helping a patient maintain an open airway throughout sleep.

To schedule an airway evaluation for you or a member of your family, contact the office of Devine Dentistry today by calling 269-4209.

Devine Dentistry offers state-of-the-art oral care to patients in the areas of Belle Meade, Green Hills, and Nashville in Tennessee.

Sleep Apnoea Can Cause Other Problems


Without treatment, sleep apnoea can lead to:

  • a higher chance of having a stroke
  • depression or changes in your mood
  • a higher chance of having a serious accident caused by tiredness, such as a car accident
  • difficulty concentrating at work or school

Sleep apnoea can also be difficult for your partner and put a strain on your relationship with them.

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What Are The Types Of Sleep Apnea

There are three types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea : OSA occurs when the airway at the back of the throat becomes physically blocked. That obstruction causes temporary lapses in breath.
  • Central Sleep Apnea : CSA happens because there is a problem with the brains system for controlling muscles involved in respiration, leading to slower and shallower breathing.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea: When a person has both OSA and CSA at the same time, it is referred to as mixed sleep apnea or complex sleep apnea.

Because the underlying causes are distinct, there are important differences in the symptoms, causes, and treatments of OSA and CSA.

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