Causes Of Sleep Apnea


The three main types of sleep apnea are potentially life-threatening because they may stop the flow of air to the lungs when someone is sleeping. Someone who has obstructive, central, or complex sleep apnea experiences difficulty in breathing when sleeping. It affects the flow of air in several ways, e.g., the breathing stops for some time before the body restarts the process. When this happens, the person awakens, and it may not be easy to get back to sleep again. In addition, these individuals need special support, which may require treatment and therapy to save them from the dangers that they face every day related to sleep apnea. Here is a look at the most common causes:

Brain Fails to Send Signals to Breathing Pump Muscles

This condition leads to central apnea, the rarest of the various forms of the condition. When the brain loses contact with muscles that control breathing, they become dysfunctional. As they lie dormant for sometime, a person will feel discomfort that causes them to wake-up, and that is when the muscles resume activity. People who go through this situation experience a shortness of breath, which could lead to other serious health conditions if it is not controlled.

Collapsed Throat Muscles

The muscles at the back of the throat support the pallet. When they collapse, the tonsils and other related muscles can restrict the airway. It leads to the narrowing or total closure of the airway, and therefore, the brain senses a difficulty in breathing which rouses the person from sleep. When this situation happens, a person can snort, choke, or gasp. The problem becomes worse when the cycle keeps recurring every hour or even every few minutes the whole night. 

A Combination of Various Factors

Sometimes, a person may experience both a blockage of the airway and failure by the brain to control muscles. This situation results in complex sleep apnea. Most of the time, these people have other underlying health conditions. For instance, people with excessive weight or thicker neck circumference are likely to suffer from complex sleep apnea. Other causes include smoking, nasal blockage, and the use of alcohol, tranquilizers or sedatives. Studies have also shown that men and older people are more likely to experience sleep apnea.

When to Seek Help

Various complications are associated with sleep apnea. It has been known to cause daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, heart problems, Type 2 diabetes, and liver problems. Because they are prone to breathing problems, people with sleep apnea also have a higher risk of developing complications after major surgeries. For these reasons, you should see a qualified professional to help you manage sleep apnea issues.

At Head Pain Institute, you will find experienced professionals who can help patients overcome the dangers and discomfort of sleep apnea. Our solutions include special sleeping oral appliances that ease the flow of air to the lungs. Feel free to schedule an appointment with us today!