Facebook logo
Book Now Call Call Us Map View Map
View Our Safety Protocol

Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Arlington Heights, IL

A Dangerous Sleep Disorder


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is often regarded as little more than a nuisance. The truth is, though, that it is a dangerous sleep disorder that could adversely affect your quality of life and your long-term health. What exactly is OSA, what causes it, and why is it so important that you seek appropriate treatment? Read this page to discover important information, and get in touch with our Arlington Heights dental team when you are ready to find out how you can achieve more restful sleep night after night.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Senior man snoring in bed

Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that is characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. Those pauses, called apneas, occur when tissues in the upper airway block the free flow of oxygen. A person with OSA may also experience hypopneas, which are periods of reduced breathing.

Apneas and hypopneas can occur dozens or hundreds of times each night. They disrupt the sleep cycle and can leave a person feeling exhausted day after day.

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Plus size woman smoking a cigarette

OSA can have a number of different causes:

  • Excess fat. Obese people are at a higher risk of OSA because extra fatty tissue around the throat and abdomen can affect breathing.
  • Anatomical abnormalities. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a narrow jaw, a deviated septum, and other anatomical abnormalities can interfere with breathing during sleep and lead to OSA.
  • Smoking causes inflammation in the airway that can contribute to apneas and hypopneas.
  • Nasal congestion. If it is difficult for you to breathe through your nose due to allergies or other conditions, you are more likely to suffer from OSA.
  • Other causes. Certain medications, loss of muscle tone in the throat, and other conditions can contribute to OSA.

Possible Complications of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Man clutching his chest due to heart problems

OSA can have a significant impact on both your daily quality of life and your long-term health:

  • Poor reaction times and reduced concentration. You may be more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.
  • Cardiovascular health issues. OSA is strongly correlated with an increased risk of heart attack, high blood pressure, and other major health issues.
  • Worsening relationships. Individuals with OSA are more likely to have mood disorders, sexual dysfunction, and other conditions that affect their ability to enjoy meaningful relationships with others.
  • Unwanted weight gain. A lack of high-quality sleep can cause fluctuations in the hormones that control hunger and satiety. You may also feel too tired to exercise regularly. As a result, you may be more likely to experience unwanted weight gain.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Patient and doctor sitting at desk curing consultation

If you snore frequently, always feel tired, or have noticed other symptoms of OSA, it is in your best interests to talk to a qualified medical professional. They can help you arrange for a sleep test, which is a noninvasive procedure that involves the use of sophisticated monitoring equipment that will help to determine for sure whether you have OSA and how severe your condition is.

After you receive a diagnosis, you can learn about your treatment options. Here at Westgate Dental Care, we proudly offer custom-made oral appliances that can help to keep your airway open and facilitate easy breathing throughout the night.