Sleep apnea is a fairly common sleeping disorder, but have you ever wondered what the main cause of sleep apnea is?
There are different types of sleep apnea, and various causes, symptoms, and treatments that go with each.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes abnormal breathing during sleep. Long pauses in breathing during sleep can significantly impact the body’s oxygen levels and lead to serious health problems. Because of the potential implications of unchecked sleep apnea, it is important to be aware of the types of sleep apnea, as well as its causes and symptoms.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) – the most common form of sleep apnea. This occurs when the airway becomes physically blocked during sleep.
- Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) – occurs when the brain does not send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
- Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA) – an extremely rare form of sleep apnea. This occurs when a person has both OSA and CSA.
Causes and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The main cause of sleep apnea is obesity. Excess weight on a person’s body impacts the soft tissue in the mouth and throat, which can cause the airway to be blocked during sleep and lead to OSA. Additionally, sleep apnea is more common in men than in women. Although obesity is the leading cause, there are other risk factors. These include asthma, back sleeping, diabetes, chronic nasal congestion, smoking, a narrowed airway, and a family history of sleep apnea.
The causes of central sleep apnea are quite different and typically have nothing to do with weight. CSA is commonly linked to other medical problems like stroke, infection of the brain, and heart failure. Only about 0.9% of people suffer from CSA.
Although the causes of OSA and CSA overlap very little, the symptoms of the various types of sleep apnea are similar. Loud snoring, morning time fatigue, and interrupted nighttime breathing are all common symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, or suspect you might have sleep apnea, talk to your doctor about treatment right away.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
A common treatment for sleep apnea is a breathing machine that causes continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Another effective treatment is lifestyle change including weight loss, sleeping on your side, and reducing the use of sedatives. There are also surgical options for treating the root causes of sleep apnea by opening the airway and removing the excess tissue from the mouth.
Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here For You
If you suffer from sleep apnea and would like to discuss treatment options with a doctor, the board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can help. They offer surgeries that can help treat the main cause of sleep apnea and get you back to sleeping soundly in no time. We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, Tooele, and South Jordan. Schedule your free consultation today.