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You can’t always achieve a good night’s sleep, but if you constantly wake up throughout the night or begin your day with headaches, a very dry or sore throat or extreme drowsiness, you may have a sleeping disorder. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder caused by obstructions in the airway and pauses in breathing. To know if you’re at risk of sleep apnea, consider the following factors:

1. Physical condition

Your body type and health affect the efficiency of your airway and can lead to sleep apnea. If you’re overweight, the fat deposits in your upper body can obstruct your airway. Likewise, if you have a thicker neck, your airway is narrower.

2. Age and gender

Sleep apnea is more common in older people, whose bodies have undergone physical change. Men are twice as likely to develop sleep apnea as women, though women’s risk increases after menopause.

3. Genetics

Sleep apnea is an inheritable condition. If you have a history of sleep apnea within your family, it wouldn’t hurt to begin researching symptoms and treatment in case you develop the disorder yourself.

4. Lifestyle

As with most medical conditions, a healthy lifestyle lessens your risk. If you have a habit of smoking or drinking, or you use muscle relaxers for other conditions, you are increasing your risk of developing sleep apnea.

If you match the symptoms and factors listed above, talk to your doctor and dentist about possible treatment. Dr. Fischer and Dr. Fischer may recommend an oral appliance to keep your airway open while you sleep. Contact Fischer Family and Cosmetic Dentistry at 703.994.4626 to learn more or visit us in Centreville, Virginia.