What Are the Causes of Sleep Apnea?

What Are the Causes of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. It occurs when a person’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. This condition can be quite dangerous if left untreated, as it disrupts the normal flow of oxygen to the brain and other organs in the body.

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This is the most common form of sleep apnea in McDonough, Palmetto, Zebulon & Fayetteville, GA. It occurs when the throat muscles narrow during sleep, causing brief pauses in breathing. Several factors can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea.


Obstructive sleep apnea is a complex condition caused by various factors. Obesity is one of the most common causes of obstructive sleep apnea. When someone carries excess weight, it can put pressure on their airways and make breathing more difficult during sleep. This can cause the muscles in the back of the throat to collapse, leading to snoring, gasping for breath, and other symptoms associated with sleep apnea.


Another risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea is age. As we age, our muscle tone decreases, including the muscles that keep our airways open during sleep. This means that older adults may be more prone to experiencing pauses in their breathing during sleep, leading to sleep apnea.


Gender also plays a role in the development of sleep apnea. One theory is that men tend to have larger necks and narrower airways, making them more susceptible to obstruction during sleep.


Smoking has been linked to several health problems, including an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. Cigarette chemicals can irritate the lining of the throat and cause inflammation, making it harder for air to pass through during sleep.

2. Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea affects how your brain controls your breathing while you sleep. This can lead to pauses in breathing or shallow breaths that can disrupt your sleep and cause other health problems over time.

If left untreated, central sleep apnea can predispose you to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It can also make concentrating difficult during the day and affect your overall quality of life. Causes of Central Sleep Apnea include:

Heart disorders

While there are different types of sleep apnea, the causes can vary depending on the type of sleep apnea you have. In central sleep apnea, heart disorders are one of the main causes.

Heart disorders such as congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation can cause your brain to send the wrong signals to your muscles that control breathing. This can lead to episodes of shallow breathing or pauses in breathing during your sleep.

Over time, this lack of oxygen can strain your heart and increase your risk for other health problems like high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

It’s important to note that while heart disorders are a common cause of central sleep apnea, not everyone with heart issues will develop sleep apnea. If you suspect you may have central sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, you must visit a sleep clinic for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor can help diagnose the underlying cause, recommend appropriate treatment options, and reduce your risk for associated health complications.

3. Mixed Sleep Apnea

Mixed sleep apnea combines obstructive and central sleep apnea symptoms. This means the airway becomes blocked during sleep, and the brain fails to signal the muscles responsible for breathing.

What are the Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, which can lead to health problems if left untreated. Luckily, several treatment options are available for those who suffer from this condition.

One of the best sleep apnea treatments is continuous positive airway pressure therapy, which involves wearing a mask while you sleep, which delivers a stream of air to keep your airways open. Another option for treating sleep apnea is oral appliance therapy. This involves wearing a custom-made device in your mouth that helps to keep your airways open while you sleep.

While not as effective as CPAP therapy for severe cases of sleep apnea, oral appliances can be a good alternative for those who struggle with the mask or need a more portable solution.

Surgery is also an option for treating sleep apnea in some cases.

Overall, the best course of treatment for sleep apnea will depend on the cause. You should visit a sleep clinic in 30253 to determine if you have apnea and its severity.

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Visit Palmetto Family Dental for more information about sleep apnea and the most suitable treatment.

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