There is more than one type of sleep apnea, but the most common variety is known as OSA or obstructive sleep apnea. This illness is characterized by the symptom of airway obstruction when a patient is sleeping. These lapses in breathing have to last for at least 10 seconds. These episodes cause low blood oxygen levels and can cause the sufferer to wake up many times in the night briefly.
There are multiple reasons a person may suffer from OSA. Here is a list of a few of the common culprits with a little explanation as to why these things can cause sleep apnea.
- Having a high BMI
- More than 50% of people diagnosed with this kind of sleep apnea are obese. According to recent studies, having excess weight was one of the most significant risk factors found linked to the development of OSA. This is because excess fat or tissue around the airways can cause pressure and obstruction on the upper airway while a person is asleep.
- Swollen Tonsils or Adenoids
- Many cases have shown that swollen tonsils have been one of the more common causes of OSA in children. Most kids that have their tonsils or adenoids removed find marked improvement with their OSA diagnosis.
- When a patient has an excessive overbite, they may find that this can cause snoring and sleep apnea. This is due to the angle at which the upper airway is held regularly because of how far back the lower jaw sets.
- Having a deviated septum
- This means that the septum, the bone, and cartilage that separates your nose from its left and right sides of the nasal area would lean severely to the left or right. This can cause some people to experience sleep apnea.
- The onset of menopause
- Because of the decreasing levels of some hormones during the menopause process, some of the sleep regulation in the patient’s body gets compromised. Due to the lack of these proper hormones, a person can develop OSA.
- Smoking of any kind
- When a person smokes, they irritate the different tissues in the airways. This can cause inflammation and excessive swelling. The swollen tissues lower the area in the airway for air to move and flow. This, in the end, can cause a person to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
Depending on the cause of your sleep apnea, it can be treated. If you feel you have any symptoms or are experiencing breathing difficulties at night, please contact your doctor right away. Though sleep apnea is common, it is a severe illness and can result in death. Treatments are usually easy and manageable.