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5 Most Common Causes of Sleep Apnea

According to research, approximately 30 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep apnea. However, only six million are formally diagnosed with the condition.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that’s characterized by paused breathing. People abnormally stop breathing and start again at intervals. This prevents the body from getting an adequate, consistent supply of oxygen. People struggle to get restful, healthy sleep.

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the most common causes of sleep apnea. We’ll also talk about sleep apnea treatment.

1. Narrow/Closed Airways

When the muscles at the back of the throat relax, the airway becomes narrow or temporarily closes as the person inhales. As a result, the air supply is affected and oxygen levels in the blood drop.

The brain becomes aware of the person’s inability to breathe and temporarily wakes them up from sleep so the airways can reopen. The awakening is very short, so much so that people don’t even recall it. They may choke, snort, or gasp.

This pattern is repeated five to 30 or more times each hour during the night. As a result, it affects the person’s ability to sleep properly. This is commonly known as obstructive sleep apnea.

Recommended Read: Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment

2. Failed Signal Transmission

a 3D cross-section model of the brain

In some cases, the brain fails to successfully transmit signals to the breathing muscles. As a result, the person doesn’t breathe for a short duration. They may wake up with shortness of breath and have trouble falling asleep again.

3. Obesity

Obesity is a common cause of sleep apnea. As the body accumulates more fat than it should, these deposits may settle around the upper airway and obstruct breathing. According to multiple cross-sectional studies, obesity significantly increases the risk of sleep apnea. In fact, 40% of obese individuals suffer from sleep apnea.

4. Family History

If your family members have sleep apnea, you’re at greater risk of developing the condition. The risk is highest for first-degree relatives (siblings, children, etc.).

5. Smoking

If you’re a smoker, you’re inadvertently increasing your risk of developing sleep apnea. Smokers are three times more likely to develop the condition. This is because smoking acts as an irritant and increases inflammation in the upper airway. As your throat becomes swollen and irritated, it becomes increasingly difficult to breathe.

If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, consult an experienced sleep specialist as soon as possible. At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we diagnose and treat different types of sleep apnea. If you’re suffering from this condition, you can learn more here and scroll down to find a doctor who’s right for you.

Sleep apnea treatment may use a variety of methods, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), airway pressure devices, supplemental oxygen supply, oral appliances, adaptive servo-ventilation, tissue removal surgery, tissue shrinkage surgery, jaw repositioning, implants, nerve stimulation, and tracheostomy (construction of a new air passageway). Once your condition has been accurately diagnosed, your doctor will recommend the right treatment plan for your specific condition.

As one of the leading Specialty Hospital near NASA TX, we also provide Lower back pain treatments near NASA TX, noninvasive treatment for tremors, and other treatments for a wide range of conditions and disorders. Whether you’re looking for an ENT specialist, neurosurgeon, spine specialist, or any other specialist, you can find one who’s right for you at Houston Physicians’ Hospital.