Causes of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects approximately 22 million Americans.  Over 80% of people struggling with this condition do not know that they have it. It causes breathing to cease (for up to 10 seconds) and start again during sleep, and people with sleep apnea suffer from loud snoring, restless sleep, and daytime fatigue. These are the major causes of sleep apnea:

In adults

The major cause of sleep apnea in adults is obesity. When people have excess weight, there is an increased amount of soft tissues around their mouth and throat. While sleeping with the tongue and throat muscles relaxed, the excess soft tissue blocks their airways partially, causing their breathing to stop and start involuntarily.

Some hereditary factors, as well as the use of sedatives, smoking, and excessive drinking, may also cause sleep apnea in adults. Furthermore, pregnant and postmenopausal women have an increased risk of sleep apnea.

In children

Even though the condition is more prevalent in adults 50 years and older, there have also been instances of children struggling with sleep apnea. In children, it is caused mainly by enlarged adenoids, tonsils, or a prominent overbite. Other lesser observed causes include a growth/tumor in the airway, Down Syndrome, or Pierre-Robin Syndrome. Childhood obesity has also been known to cause sleep apnea, but it is not as prevalent as adult obesity.

If left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to major health conditions like hypertension, stroke, abnormal heart rhythm, heart attack, and depression. Residents of Texas struggling with sleep apnea can undergo therapy at The Smile Artisans. Call us at 832-220-6087 for any inquiries or to set up an appointment.

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