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Sleep Apnea Is on the Rise — Why?

July 9, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — bettersleep @ 5:16 pm
Exhausted man struggling with sleep apnea in Eugene

In the 1990s, it was estimated that 0.6 million people in the U.S. had been diagnosed with sleep apnea, while about 10 million had sleep apnea symptoms but had not yet been diagnosed. More recent estimates on how many people have sleep apnea can vary widely, but some believe that the number exceeds 25 million — and when you account for how many cases remain undiagnosed, the true figure could actually be much higher. Clearly, sleep apnea in Eugene and throughout the U.S. have been on the rise in recent decades. Why is this the case, and what can you do to protect yourself from sleep apnea?

Why Is Sleep Apnea on the Rise?

Many experts believe that increasing rates of obesity are responsible for the uptick in sleep apnea cases. Excess weight, particularly around the neck, places pressure on the upper airway and can cause it to collapse during sleep, thereby leading to apneas (periods of not breathing).

Another possible reason is increased sleep apnea awareness. More and more patients are becoming aware of the serious health repercussions of sleep disorders and are being proactive about seeking diagnosis and treatment. Many physicians are also more alert to the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea than they were in the past.

What You Can Do

Sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, mood disorders, and a slew of other health problems. It is certainly worth every effort to lower your risk of suffering from such sad consequences! Here are some practical steps you may be able to take:

  • Learn about sleep apnea symptoms. Loud snoring, morning headaches, and daytime exhaustion all indicate the possible need for sleep apnea treatment in Eugene. You might benefit from a custom oral appliance or a CPAP machine.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose excess pounds. Your primary care practitioner may be able to help you design a reasonable diet and exercise plan that can move you toward a healthy BMI. Losing just 10% of your body weight could significantly reduce sleep apnea symptoms. More extensive weight loss might even make the sleep apnea go away altogether.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking cigarettes or other substances can irritate the airway and lead to apneas.
  • Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back increases the risk that the tissues in your upper airway will collapse and prevent you from breathing freely.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is becoming more and more prevalent. Fortunately, there are some simple things that you can do to lower your risk.

Meet the Practice

Dr. Ivan Paskalev has decades of experience as a dentist. He focuses his practice on helping patients treat sleep apnea via oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances are small, mouthguard-like devices that stop snoring and facilitate the free flow of air at night. If you suspect you have sleep apnea or have questions about how to manage it, Dr. Paskalev and our team would be pleased to help you. Contact us at 541-246-8284.

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