When you think about people with sleep apnea, you may picture an older man who is out of shape. The reality, however, is that obstructive sleep apnea can affect people of any gender, any age, and any lifestyle—even athletes. In fact, did you know that sleep-breathing disorders actually are quite prevalent among athletes? Your sleep apnea dentists at Wall Street Dentistry will explain this phenomenon in today’s blog.
Physical size and strength actually can elevate your risk of sleep apnea
In 2017, researchers published a study in the Journal of Sleep Disorders and Therapy, summarizing their findings after studying the frequency of sleep apnea among current and former NFL players. They determined that sleep apnea was found in approximately 50 percent of NFL linemen—also the group of players that usually have both the largest weight circumference and the greatest likelihood of obesity. However, they also determined that the majority of overall participants in the study showed at least some symptoms of a sleep breathing disorder. Another study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine tested 52 randomly selected NFL players and found that the rate of sleep apnea among the pool of test subjects was five times higher than the overall pool of adults of similar ages.
Athletes with sleep apnea face a particular set of additional risks
If you have sleep apnea, your airway may be partially or completely blocked during sleep. The consequences can include chronic daytime fatigue, reduced oxygen levels in the body, unexplained mood swings, and a greater vulnerability to chronic disorders such as diabetes, cardiac disease, depression, and more. A sleep apnea attack occurs when the airway becomes blocked. Someone with a severe, untreated case of sleep apnea may experience these blockages hundreds of times per hour! It’s no wonder you would feel fatigued day in and day out.
For athletes, the consequences can hinder their effectiveness and their safety while competing. Decreased reaction time and cognitive impairment are two consequences of both sleep apnea and living with sleep loss. In short, any athlete suffering from this serious sleep breathing disorder also is at a higher risk of becoming injured.
Sleep apnea treatment in Albertville
Whether you are an athlete in peak condition or live a sedentary lifestyle or find yourself somewhere in between, you could develop sleep apnea. This is a serious medical condition. It won’t go away on its own. In fact, if you have sleep apnea, failing to seek treatment is the worst decision you can make because the problem only will get worse with time. If you are snoring loudly on a regular basis or exhibiting any of the other common symptoms of sleep apnea, you should be screened for the disorder. Your dentists at Wall Street Dentistry have specialized training in airway management. They use their expertise to treat sleep-breathing disorders by addressing the airway problem that is the root cause.
Don’t live with the risk of untreated sleep apnea. It could cost you your life! Schedule a consultation today by calling our office at (256) 878-0525 if you live in the areas of Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville in Alabama.