If you’ve heard of sleep apnea before but are not sure who it affects and what causes it you’re not alone. Many people are familiar with the condition; however, they may think that it only affects those who are overweight. While individuals who are overweight do have a higher risk of having the condition the truth of the matter is that anyone can suffer from sleep apnea. And a recent study found that certain factors during pregnancy increase a woman’s chance of developing sleep apnea.
The study, which appeared in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), isolated certain risk factors during pregnancy that increase the chances of a woman developing sleep apnea while pregnant. Sleep apnea occurs when the airways in your throat are partially or fully-closed while you sleep, obstructing the flow of air to your lungs and subsequently to your whole body.
The study followed thousands of pregnant women and found that of over 3,000 women who were in early pregnancy, 3.6 percent of them had sleep apnea and of over 2,500 women in mid-pregnancy, 8.3 percent of them had the condition. But what were the factors that caused the condition? According to the report, three main factors led to an increased risk of sleep apnea and included:
- Being overweight while pregnant
- Being older while pregnant
- Being a chronic snorer
The study not only determined certain factors that can lead to sleep apnea but the researchers were able to use those factors to develop diagnostic tools. These will be used to help obstetric doctors better identify the condition and work to prevent the condition from developing or determine a plan to more effectively treat the condition so that mother and baby receive the proper amount of oxygen they need for a healthy pregnancy.
When your airways collapse while sleeping it affects the quality of sleep you have. Each night, those who suffer from sleep apnea may stop breathing for up to 30 seconds, which can happen dozens of times a night. Because your brain and body are not getting the proper flow of oxygen you may wake up feeling groggy and physically and mentally fatigued. Sleep apnea also increases the risks of other serious health conditions such as:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver problems
As you can see, having sleep apnea can negatively affect your quality of sleep and your physical and mental health in many ways. It’s especially important to effectively treat the condition if you’re pregnant so that your growing baby gets the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients to develop healthily.
At Adler Advanced Dentistry, we want everyone to be as healthy as they can be and have experience helping individuals who suffer from sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, Dr. Michael Adler offers treatments to help you control the condition.
If you’re pregnant and have recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea and would like to learn about our treatment options, please call our office today at 303-449-1119 for your free consultation. We proudly provide quality dentistry services to those who live in and near Boulder, Colorado.