Sleep Apnea and Smoking
Sleep apnea is a disorder affecting how much oxygen your body and brain receive during sleep. Smoking creates a serious health risk for patients with sleep apnea by decreasing overall lung capacity. Additionally, sleep apnea is commonly linked with all forms of smoking, likely due to upper respiratory inflammation caused by smoking.
Depending on your needs, our team at Dallas Oral Surgery Associates offers multiple surgical and non-surgical treatment options to address sleep apnea symptoms. By providing you with the education and tools you need, we strive to help our patients breathe better while sleeping to get the rest they need.
Understanding The Link Between Sleep Apnea And Smoking
Sleep apnea primarily affects the amount of REM sleep you receive and the symptoms you experience as a result of interrupted sleep. To better understand how smoking can be linked to sleep apnea, we have to understand its causes and symptoms.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by the throat tissue collapsing during sleep and restricting airflow. As a result of oxygen loss, the brain is triggered to release a stress hormone. This momentarily rouses the body with just enough wakefulness to gasp for breath. This can occur as little as five times an hour or hundreds of times in one night. The combination of stress hormones and frequent rousing throughout the night quickly becomes taxing on the body. Patients frequently wake feeling tired, irritable, or pained by a headache. These compounded symptoms over weeks or months of nightly sleep apnea can be a hazard to the body. If untreated, sleep apnea can put patients at an increased risk for high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and more.
Smoking and Sleep Apnea
If you smoke, there is a chance that your obstructive sleep apnea was caused by smoking. Smoking in any form can cause harm to the throat and lung tissue. All forms of smoke, including cigarette and marijuana smoke, contain toxins, carcinogens, and irritants that can harm your lungs. This burning of material results in tar coating the lungs, progressively hindering your ability to breathe in and absorb oxygen. Additionally, smoke intake causes throat tissue to become inflamed and irritated. This can cause upper respiratory swelling and decrease throat capacity.
The first step to treating sleep apnea is diagnosis. Some patients may require a sleep study, while others may only need a cursory evaluation. Once we have a confident diagnosis, our surgeons will present and discuss various treatment options. We provide a range of non-invasive appliances, excluding the CPAP, that do not require oxygen to be pumped in and can be worn like a retainer. We also offer a range of surgical procedures when non-invasive methods fail.
Have unanswered questions about sleep apnea? Reach out to our office to learn more or schedule a consultation appointment at 214-363-9946.