What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is essentially a condition whereby your breathing often gets blocked or hindered during your sleep.

There are two main types of sleep apnea which are obstructive and central.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is believed to be the more common amongst people of the two; it’s basically when a person’s tongue/fatty tissue in the throat fall back into the airways causing a blockage of airflow. This blockage then leads to the reduction of blood flow to the brain, as well as air flow to the lungs. Which, is very dangerous because it stops a person from being able to breathe normally which then immediately forces their brain to wake them up by coughing or snorting in an attempt to alleviate the blockage.

The other kind of sleep apnea is called central sleep apnea which is when the brain isn’t able to signal the muscles in charge of regulating breathing. This is much less common than OSA as only 20% of sleep apnea cases suffer from it. Now, you may be wondering about what actually causes people to have OSA sleep apnea.

3 Main Causes for Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

  1. A Deviated Septum

    What this medical term means is basically when the nasal septum (made up of bone and cartilage), is deviated and not exactly straightened. This causes one nasal passage (essentially a nostril) to be smaller which makes breathing more difficult as this causes nasal passage airflow to be reduced.

  2. Obesity

    A high-risk factor for sleep apnea. This is because extra fat/weight leads to a crowded respiratory system which disrupts breathing and makes it more difficult. It has been reported that more than half of sleep apnea patients are obese. Obesity makes it you more prone to having sleep apnea. Therefore, it is very important to maintain a healthy diet and weight loss regime if you are obese and suffer from sleep apnea.

  3. Smoking

    Nicotine is very harmful to people when asleep. Nicotine and smoking can typically cause an inflammation in a person’s airway passages as they’re asleep due to its irritating nature. When you smoke, the smoke makes you want to choke because it adds pressure on your lungs which slowly damages them and heavily disrupts breathing. Smoking increases your chances of having sleep apnea because it completely harms your respiratory system, so consider trying to smoke less or quit altogether.

If you have any further questions or feel you might be suffering from Sleep Apnea contact The Strong Clinic today!

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