What Is The Primary Cause Of Sleep Apnea?

Feb 01, 2023

Sleep apnea is a serious and common sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and restarts during sleep. Obstructive and central sleep apnea are the two most common types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA happens when there’s a partial or complete airway obstruction, causing breathing to stop.

Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to signal your breathing muscles correctly. Breathing stops briefly and then restarts. Keep reading to learn more about sleep apnea, its causes and symptoms, and the benefits of seeking treatment.

Signs and symptoms of sleep apnea

Usually, the signs and symptoms of OSA and CSA tend to overlap. They include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening while chocking
  • Episodes of breathing stops during sleep, often reported by your sleep partner
  • Waking up with a sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Depression and irritability
  • Difficulty staying asleep(insomnia)
  • Difficulty concentrating while awake
  • Excess daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

Some of these symptoms don’t always mean you have sleep apnea. However, it’s best to see our dentist in Knoxville, TN, to determine their cause and get the needed treatments.

Causes of obstructive sleep apnea

OSA happens due to the obstruction of the airway. The muscles in the back of the throat relax too much, entirely or partially, closing the airway. These muscles support other structures like the soft palate, uvula, and the side walls of the throat, tongue, and tonsils.

When the airway closes or narrows, you cannot get enough air, and the oxygen in your blood reduces. The brain quickly senses the problem and rouses you from sleep to re-open the airway and restart breathing. All this happens within seconds, so you may not remember it. The episodes can repeatedly occur 5 – 30 times or more in one hour at night.

Factors that can increase your risk of OSA include:

  • Excess weight or obesity
  • A round head
  • Hypothyroidism
  • A narrow throat
  • Excess growth due to hormones
  • Smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse
  • Deviated septum (a problem with the nose structure)
  • Upper airway congestion
  • Enlarged adenoids or tonsils
  • Dental issues like a large overbite

Causes of central sleep apnea

In most cases, it isn’t easy to establish the root cause of CSA. Commonly, central sleep apnea links with:

  • Certain illnesses like stroke, heart conditions, and kidney problems
  • Environmental factors like high altitudes above 15,000 feet
  • Certain medications and drugs like fentanyl and hydrocodone

In children, central sleep apnea can be caused by:

  • Head injury
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Smoking during pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • Brain tumors
  • Problems at the brain stem or base of the skull

Benefits of getting sleep apnea treatment at TLC Dental Care

  • Reduced risk of health complications

Regardless of age, untreated sleep apnea can worsen or lead to serious health complications like high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, abnormal heartbeats, diabetes, dementia and memory loss, and premature death.

  • Improved sleep quality and quantity

Repeated episodes of breathing interruptions cause you to wake up briefly several times throughout the night, significantly disrupting your sleep. You end up waking up feeling sleepy, irritated, and tired. Treating sleep apnea offers a quality, restful, and peaceful sleep.

  • Benefits your bed partner

Most people with sleep apnea tend to snore rather loudly at night. Loud snoring can affect your bed partner’s ability to get restful and quality sleep. Once treated, you will sleep quietly, allowing your bed to have a relaxing and quality sleep that’s not interrupted by snoring.

  • More energy and productivity

Lack of quality and restful sleep can cause you to wake up feeling sleepy, fatigued, moody, and achy. Some people are unable to stay awake or concentrate during the day. Treating sleep apnea allows you to breathe normally and sleep without interruption. You wake up feeling refreshed and energized. You may even notice increased productivity at work.

  • Improved mood

Lack of enough sleep can cause you to feel stressed, depressed, moody, and irritated. A study conducted on patients with sleep apnea showed that 73% of the participants have depression. The study showed that patients who underwent treatment with CPAP for three months felt better, with only 4% having depressive symptoms.

  • Stronger immune system

Sleep apnea can reduce oxygen in the blood and lead to poor sleep patterns, negatively impacting your immune system and making you vulnerable to inflammation and infections like colds. Treating sleep apnea improves sleep and oxygen flow in the blood, improving your immune system.

  • Reduced work and traffic accidents

Sleep apnea can make you wake up tired, sleepy, and unable to concentrate well. It can lead to an increased risk of accidents at work and when driving. Sleep apnea treatment helps you wake up refreshed and energized, reducing the risk of accidents.

Are you interested In Sleep Apnea Treatment Near You?

For more information about sleep apnea in Knoxville, TN, contact TLC Dental Care – Knoxville.

865-247-5570 Request Appointment