Once you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), finding a treatment that is convenient, comfortable, and that works with your busy lifestyle is key. Your treatment is essential for mitigating the many risk factors to your health and your ability to sleep well. And once you know you have OSA, treatment is the only option to improve the quality of your rest.
But what if you aren’t one of the estimated 22 million Americans with this common condition?
Are there steps you can take to prevent developing OSA in the future?
The answer, essentially, is that it depends.
While there are some factors that are simply hereditary and which will inherently increase your risk of developing this condition, there are others that can be altered to reduce your likelihood of having OSA in the future.
Take a closer look at what you can (and can’t) change to prevent OSA later, and the things that you can do now to reduce your risks.
Obstructive sleep apnea is constantly being researched by scientists and physicians alike, and along the way, these studies have identified a number of inherent and unchangeable factors that can increase a person’s risk for OSA.
These factors include the following:
All of the above factors are part of your DNA, and can’t be altered on their own. As such, if you have any of the above listed attributes, your risk for OSA is automatically higher.
Conversely, there are some habits or features that people can alter to mitigate their risks of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
These include the following:
People who are overweight or obese have a much higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, weight is a primary contributor to this condition across the board.
Your alcohol consumption.
Alcohol is a natural sedative and can make you fall asleep faster, but it can also make it much easier for your mouth and throat muscles to relax too much, leading to blocked airways.
Smoking is bad for a myriad of reasons, and there is a strong connection between smoking and obstructive sleep apnea. This is because smoking affects all aspects of your breathing, from your lungs, to your nasal passages.
While there’s no absolute way to permanently prevent obstructive sleep apnea, there are a number of things that individuals can do to mitigate their risks as much as possible. Adopt healthy lifestyle choices, make alterations when it comes to bad habits, and remember to always see a doctor or take an at-home sleep test if you think there’s a problem with your sleep.
Do you suspect sleep apnea in yourself or a loved one? Don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help you get back to sleeping great and feeling your best.