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Understanding the Causes of Sleep Apnea

Do you know what sleep apnea is? Well, how about the causes of sleep apnea? We are here to help you gain a better understanding of what causes sleep apnea so you can be alert and aware of this condition. By understanding the causes of sleep apnea, you can take the right steps toward improved health and sleep—we know how important that is.

A Recap of Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea, (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It 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. However, when you are sleeping, 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, but when you’re asleep you can’t control the airflow.

The Causes of Sleep Apnea

If you have sleep apnea, your airway can become partially or fully blocked because of the following reasons:

  • Your throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal.
  • Your tongue and tonsils are large compared to the opening into your windpipe.
  • You’re overweight.
  • The shape of your head and neck may cause a smaller airway size in the mouth and throat area.
  • The aging process limits your brain signals’ ability to keep your throat muscles stiff during sleep.

As a result, not enough air flows into your lungs if your airway is partially or fully blocked during sleep. In the end, you or your loved one will experience loud snoring and a drop in your blood oxygen level.

Contact Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about sleep apnea and the causes. Through a better understanding of sleep apnea’s causes, you can get a better night’s sleep.

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