In previous years, sleep apnea in The Woodlands wasn’t a topic that was widely discussed; however, now it’s common to see it mentioned in commercials and advertisements. If you’ve noticed more people talking about the sleep disorder, you aren’t imagining things. There has been a sharp increase in the number of confirmed diagnoses, and the reason behind the spike might surprise you.
Why the Sudden Increase in Sleep Apnea?
Research shows at least 22 million adults suffer from sleep apnea, but it’s estimated as much as 80% of cases aren’t diagnosed. Although anyone can develop the sleep disorder, various factors influence your risk, such as being male or overweight. Obesity is a leading contributor to multiple health issues, including diabetes and sleep apnea. Research shows 60% of obese people have obstructive sleep apnea while 83% of patients with type 2 diabetes also have the condition.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity cases have increased by over 12% from 1999 to 2018.
Understanding the Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea
You know obesity has its own set of health risks, but so does sleep apnea. You might think chronic snoring is the only complication; however, sleep apnea can have potentially deadly consequences without the right treatment. You will have a heightened risk of several health issues, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and heart attack. Believe it or not, you will also be more prone to workplace and auto accidents.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Since obesity has become more prevalent, physicians are raising awareness about sleep apnea to make testing and treatment more widely available. If a sleep study confirms that you have the disorder, you may be referred to a dentist. You might feel it’s odd to visit a dentist for sleep apnea treatment in The Woodlands, but they can be very effective in managing the condition.
Traditionally, a CPAP is used to treat sleep apnea, which delivers a steady stream of air pressure through a mask worn over the nose. It keeps the airway open to prevent interruptions in breathing. While they are effective, they have a low compliance rate because they can be bothersome.
As an alternative, your dentist can provide an oral appliance, which is custom fit to your mouth. The device will reposition your lower jaw forward to prevent any obstructions in your airway.
Besides the right sleep apnea treatment, a healthy weight is also crucial to managing the disorder. Although sleep apnea is becoming more common, you don’t have to place yourself at risk. With a balanced diet and an oral appliance, you can enjoy both a good night’s rest and optimal wellness.
About Dr. Aaron Glick
Dr. Glick earned his dental degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center before continuing his training in general dentistry, dental implants, and sleep medicine. He is a Qualified Dentist of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. If you need sleep apnea therapy, contact our office today to schedule your consultation.