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Is Sleep Apnea Becoming More Common?

December 14, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — sleepdunwoodyteam @ 7:39 pm
Man sleeping in bed

More and more people are being diagnosed with sleep apnea as of late – especially in the United States. This is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts throughout the night. Sleep apnea isn’t just dangerous, but it also appears to be on the rise. Continue reading to learn more about sleep apnea, its risk factors, and what you can do to combat those risks.

Why Is Sleep Apnea on the Rise?

Sleep apnea diagnoses are becoming more common. For many patients, this condition can be tied back to one of the most common risk factors – obesity! When one has excess body weight, this contributes to sleep apnea by putting more pressure on the upper airways while you sleep. This can cause them to collapse and breathing to temporarily cease.

Obesity has become more common all across the globe, but especially in the United States. It is generally due to consuming more high-calorie, high-fat foods as well as limited physical activity. Processed foods that contain lots of sugar, sodium, and artificial ingredients can ultimately take a toll on your health. By sticking to a nutritious diet and staying active, you can significantly reduce your risk for sleep apnea and other dangerous health conditions.

What Are the Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?

Apart from obesity, there are a variety of factors that can increase your risk of developing sleep apnea. Here are some of the most prominent ones:

  • Family history of sleep apnea
  • Age – Sleep apnea is more common in older adults
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Use of alcohol and certain medications
  • Having large adenoids or tonsils
  • Misaligned or small lower jaw

How Can You Combat the Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?

For many people, making some lifestyle changes is enough to prevent the onset of sleep apnea. Here are some steps you can take at home to lower your risk:

  • Lose Weight: If you are overweight or obese, losing some of the excess weight can help to relieve constriction of your airway.
  • Exercise: Exercising can help to improve your condition. You should exercise about 150 minutes a week and try to exercise most days.
  • Avoid Alcohol: Drinking alcohol can worsen obstructive sleep apnea and sleepiness. This is also the case with some anti-anxiety medications and sleeping pills.
  • Change Your Sleep Position: Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue and soft palate to block your airway. Try sleeping on your side instead.
  • Keep Your Nasal Passages Open: If you tend to get congested, try using a saline nasal spray to keep your nasal passages open. You could also talk to your doctor about using nasal decongestants or antihistamines.

Sleep apnea cases may be going up, but it’s not too late to take steps to keep it from affecting you. By making good lifestyle choices and being mindful of your risks, you may be able to keep sleep apnea at bay!

About the Author

Dr. Jeff Rodgers has been in private practice for over 20 years and specializes in dental sleep medicine. Currently, he is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM) and the American Sleep and Breathing Academy (ASBA). Dr, Rodgers is a board-certified sleep expert and treats patients who suffer from sleep-breathing disorders at his practice in Dunwoody. To learn more about sleep apnea or to schedule an appointment, visit his website or call (770) 394-4310.

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