What are the Causes of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common sleep-related breathing disorder that causes you to stop and start breathing while you sleep. It is most commonly caused by

obstructive sleep apnea

, which occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much to allow for normal breathing. These muscles support structures such as the soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and tongue. People with thicker necks may also have narrower airways, which can increase the risk of sleep apnea.In addition to obstructive sleep apnea, other causes of sleep apnea include obesity, use of alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers, and undergoing major surgery.

A recent Johns Hopkins study looked at what happens to metabolism during the night when patients with sleep apnea don't use their CPAP. If you think you have sleep apnea, you should schedule an appointment with a sleep specialist or ask a primary care provider to refer you to a sleep specialist.The quality of sleep you get is also critical to your heart's well-being. People with sleep apnea should avoid excessive alcohol consumption and frequent use of sleeping pills or other drugs (recreational and otherwise) that cause intense sedation. Snoring is usually stronger when you sleep on your back and calms down when you turn on your side.In addition to positive airway pressure, adaptive ventilation, and phrenic nerve stimulators, there are some medications that can help with central sleep apnea.

A sleep specialist may request a sleep apnea test, which uses equipment to monitor breathing and oxygen levels while you sleep. Even if it doesn't cause these dangerous complications, people with sleep apnea can't sleep well, making them constantly feel tired. Sudden drops in blood oxygen levels that occur during obstructive sleep apnea increase blood pressure and exhaust the cardiovascular system. Frequent interruptions in deep, restful sleep often result in headaches first thing in the morning and excessive sleepiness during the day.

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