What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Are you tossing and turning at night, or waking up exhausted? Sleepless nights due to genetic sleep apnea can cause several distressing symptoms if left untreated. Thankfully, finding the root of your sleep apnea can help you and your doctor minimize the symptoms.
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is a disorder in which your airway becomes blocked and interrupts your breathing while you sleep. The brain quickly recognizes a lack of oxygen and signals your body to wake up and gasp for air. You may not even remember waking up from sleep apnea, so many people don’t know they have it.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can manifest in a range of disruptive day and night symptoms, including:
- Frequent snoring, gasping for air or choking at night
- Daytime exhaustion, lack of focus, or confusion
- Mood changes such as depression or irritability
- Morning headaches
- Waking up with a dry mouth or throat
- Trouble falling asleep at night or waking up in the morning
- Reduced libido
- Nighttime sweating
- Recent weight gain
Genetic Causes of Sleep Apnea
There are several causes of sleep apnea — from physical health to the shape of an airway, many factors can affect your nighttime breathing patterns.
Your genetic makeup can increase your risk of suffering from OSA. Genetics determines everything about our bodies, so some people are more susceptible to experiencing sleep apnea. Studies show that several genetic factors can lead to obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, nearly 40 percent of sleep apnea causes are linked to genetics.
Body Fat Distribution
Everyone has a different body, and our unique shapes and sizes manifest partially because of our genetics. Where body fat is stored depends on your genetic makeup. People with excess tissue around their neck and throat are more susceptible to sleep apnea. The soft tissue around the neck can block your airway, making it hard to breathe due to reduced pressure.
Your upper airway, which is genetically determined, can also affect your breathing at night. A blockage in the airway can make it harder for the pharynx to open and close correctly, causing OSA. The pharynx is a muscle that connects your nose and mouth to your throat, which allows you to breathe.
Brain Control of Upper Airway Muscles
Your brain functions allow the rest of your body to move, including your respiratory system. Because everyone’s brain is different, some people have better control over parts of their bodies than others. If the neural control of your upper airways isn’t strong enough, the pharynx collapses easier and can result in sleep apnea.
Treatment Options for Genetic Sleep Apnea
While genetics are uncontrollable, you can overcome your predisposition to sleep apnea with treatment at North Texas Sleep Solutions. Our experienced dentist designs effective treatment plans that allow you to breathe easily and in any position, so you stay comfortable all night.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are the most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea. They’re devices that maintain oxygen flow to your mouth and nose through a tube and mask. Our CPAP device helps your throat and pharynx stay clear so you can overcome genetic challenges to breathing properly.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Another effective treatment for sleep apnea is a custom-designed oral appliance. These appliances fit in your mouth comfortably for a comfortable and quiet solution for sleep apnea. This counteracts some of the genetic causes of sleep apnea, making it easier for you to breathe at night.
Dr. Lauck, our experienced sleep apnea dentist, provides surgery to relieve severe symptoms of sleep apnea. A common sleep apnea surgery involves removing extra tissue around the throat and widening airways, along with other soft palate surgeries. Our surgical procedures can help improve or change the genetic factors that cause chronic sleep apnea.
Visit North Texas Sleep Solutions
Feel better and conquer your genetic predisposition to sleep apnea. Our experienced sleep staff can create a treatment plan that helps you minimize the genetic causes of your OSA. Call (817) 431-6764 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lauck at our Keller, TX office today.