What Causes Sleep Apnea?

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What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Wondering what actually causes sleep apnea? Read on for a list of possible root causes.

sleep apnea

The Basics

The most common form of Sleep Apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and has to do with interrupted breathing during sleep.

People who are awake have certain muscles that stiffen their airway and allow oxygen to flow freely in and out of their lungs. When asleep, however, these muscles relax slightly.

The Reasons

People who suffer from OSA have throat and tongue muscles that relax abnormally, causing their airway to be blocked, either fully or partially due to any of the following reasons:

  • Their head and neck shape create a smaller airway through the mouth and throat.
  • Compared to their windpipe, their tonsils and tongue are enlarged.
  • Their tongue and throat muscles relax abnormally.
  • They are overweight.
  • Those struggling with diabetes and those who smoke are at a higher risk for OSA.
  • Age plays a role in susceptibility to OSA.

The reasons above may cause your airway to be restricted either fully or partially while you sleep. This results in a drop in oxygen level and, most commonly, snoring.

If  you are experiencing issues with sleep, contact us and schedule an appointment.