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Causes of Sleep Apnea
Home Causes of Sleep Apnea

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a blockage of the breathing passage or a collapsed airway. With a blocked airway, it is difficult to breathe-keeping air from traveling freely.

When you're awake, throat muscles help keep your airway stiff and open so air can flow into your lungs. When you sleep, these muscles relax, which narrows your throat. Normally, this narrowing of your throat doesn't prevent air from flowing into and out of your lungs.

  • Obesity
    Those who are overweight may be at a higher risk of developing obstructive sleep apnea. Since excess fatty tissue is prevalent, obesity increases the chances of sleep apnea. It isn't always the case that everyone with sleep apnea is also obese; there are many patients who have sleep apnea but are a healthy weight.
  • Snoring
    Snoring is an indicator of sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when the air flow is obstructed. Obstruction of the airflow may cause gasping, hence sleep apnea.
  • Night time Sweating
    Those with obstructive sleep apnea are much more likely to witness night time sweating. If anyone experiences excessive night time sweating, they should be tested for sleep apnea.

Types of Nasal and Sinus disorders

  • Daytime Sleepiness
    Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) is characterized as a chronic feeling of overwhelming daytime fatigue. Sufferers of EDS experience a constant feeling of tiredness during the day even if they get adequate amounts of sleep every night.
  • Morning Headaches
    Morning headaches is caused due to low oxygen or high carbon dioxide levels in the blood, or disrupted sleep caused by partial awakening during episodes of paused breathing. People with sleep apnea are often overweight and have other symptoms, such as excessive daytime sleepiness and snoring.
  • Memory Problems
    Obstructive sleep apnea not only interferes with the sleep but also decreases the oxygen levels in the blood system. Reduced blood oxygen levels can impair brain function and lead to memory loss.
  • Difficulty Concentrating
    People with sleep apnea frequently fail in the process of turning short-term memories into long-term memories. Storing memories for later access is a process that happens only during deep sleep. Sleep apnea often prevents people from staying in deep sleep long enough to categorize their experiences into memories, which leads to difficulty with memory, and causes forgetfulness.
  • Restless sleep
    Sufferers of obstructive sleep apnea often have disturbed sleep as their mind and body are frequently awakened throughout the night, pulling them out of the much needed stages of non-REM and REM sleep.
  • Depression or irritability
    Lack of regular quality sleep due to sleep apnea disorder can wreak havoc on a person's mental well-being. Sleep apnea patients often find themselves feeling short-tempered, and it can lead to more severe symptoms of depression.
  • Dry Mouth
    Dry mouth is a common condition in sleep apnea patients. It is caused when the salivary glands do not produce enough moisture to keep the mouth wet. An absence of saliva during the night is not only uncomfortable, but it can also disturb sleep and negatively affect oral health.
  • Overweight
    The most common cause of obstructive sleep apnea is overweight, which is associated with soft tissue of the mouth and throat. During sleep, when throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed, this soft tissue can cause the airway to become blocked.
  • Large Tongue
    Large tongue increases the risk of sleep apnea. Increased fat not only makes the tongue larger but also impairs its muscle function, making it more likely to sag and block the airway.


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