October 3, 2022
Each night, millions of people miss out on several hours of sleep due to sleep apnea, but what’s worse is that many more cases remain completely undiagnosed! However, your rest isn’t all that’s at stake when it comes to sleep apnea; if left untreated, it can also result in some pretty serious health consequences. But is seeking treatment the only way to address sleep apnea, or will it ever go away on its own? Here’s more from your sleep dentist about what causes sleep apnea and what you can do to manage your symptoms, as the condition won’t simply resolve itself.
What Is Sleep Apnea & What Causes It?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea, and it’s characterized by blockage in the airway occurring throughout the night while you’re asleep. When it happens, your body is forced to wake up and normalize your breathing, causing you to miss out on much needed sleep and accumulate sleep debt.
This blockage can be caused by a variety of things, and it’s very often associated with chronic snoring! Some known possible causes include but aren’t limited to:
- Weight gain (excess fat around the neck or chest cavity).
- Underlying facial anatomy such as a larger-than-average tongue or big tonsils.
- Sleeping on your back.
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
Does Sleep Apnea Go Away on Its Own?
Simply put, sleep apnea is not something that will clear up on its own. Even though the symptoms can be treated, usually with the help of oral appliances, CPAP machines, or other forms of sleep apnea therapy, the condition itself is chronic and cannot be cured entirely.
This means your best bet at getting healthy, uninterrupted sleep is mitigating the symptoms and making lifestyle changes to lessen the condition’s effect on you. It’s worth noting that children can sometimes be successfully cured of sleep apnea if it’s addressed early on, through means such as tonsil extraction or orthodontic therapy.
How Can Sleep Apnea Be Managed?
Though it might be chronic, sleep apnea can still be effectively managed! There are actually several things you can do to help reduce the severity, or even the presence, of your sleep apnea symptoms. Consider the following:
- Watch your weight – Try to maintain a healthy weight by exercising regularly and eating a vitamin-rich diet with fewer sugary and processed foods.
- Establish a bedtime routine – Try to limit the number of distractions that occur around bedtime and aim to go to bed around the same time every evening.
- Address other causes of sleep disruption – If seasonal allergies are causing your sleep disruption, you can try using over-the-counter medicines to alleviate your symptoms. Also be conscious of too much light entering your bedroom and ensure that the inside temperature is comfortable.
- Seek treatment for your sleep apnea – If you’re able to receive a diagnosis from a sleep doctor, you can receive sleep apnea therapy that will greatly improve the quality of your rest.
Unfortunately, your sleep apnea won’t go away on its own—but that doesn’t mean that nothing can be done about it! Seeking treatment from your sleep dentist and taking steps to manage your symptoms will get you back on track to getting a good night’s sleep every night.
About the Author
Dr. Prachi D. Shah received her DDS from the New York University College of Dentistry and is a proud member of several professional organizations including the American Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Her practice in Pantego, TX is pleased to offer a wide range of services including sleep apnea treatment. If you have any questions about sleep apnea or would like to schedule a visit, you can contact Dr. Shah through her practice’s website or over the phone: (817) 860-2222.
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