Sleep apnea is a type of sleep-related breathing disorder, a group of sleep disorders that are characterized by abnormal breathing patterns during sleep. In adults, the most common cause of
obstructive sleep apneais excess weight and obesity, which is associated with the soft tissues of the mouth and throat. During sleep, when the muscles of the throat and tongue are more relaxed, this soft tissue can cause the respiratory tract to become blocked.
Obstructive sleep apneaoccurs when the muscles that support the soft tissues of the throat, such as the tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax.
When these muscles relax, the airway narrows or closes and breathing is interrupted momentarily.Other factors that can contribute to
obstructive sleep apneainclude large adenoids or tonsils, misalignment or size of the jaw, chronic nasal congestion, smoking, and drinking alcohol. People with sleep apnea may be more likely to have complications after major surgery because they are prone to breathing problems, especially when sedated and lying on their backs. Obstructive sleep apnea may also increase the risk of having a recurrent heart attack, stroke, and abnormal heartbeats, such as atrial fibrillation.A sleep specialist may request a sleep apnea test, which uses equipment to monitor breathing and oxygen levels while you sleep. If you have heart disease, several episodes of low blood oxygen levels (hypoxia or hypoxemia) can cause sudden death due to an irregular heartbeat.
On the other hand, if you have a severe case of sleep apnea, your doctor may insist on treatment even if you're not sleepy.Treatment for central sleep apnea often focuses on addressing the medical problem that causes abnormal breathing. Several studies have shown an association between sleep apnea and problems such as type 2 diabetes, strokes, heart attacks and even a shorter life expectancy. Knowing the types of sleep apnea, as well as the symptoms, causes and treatments, can help people understand this condition and minimize its potential health effects.Losing weight can completely cure sleep apnea or at least make it less serious. Here's an introduction to what happens in the throat and what causes obstructive sleep apnea and all the factors that may increase the risk of developing it.
Many of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea can also be caused by other health problems, so the condition cannot be diagnosed with symptoms alone.If you experience any symptoms related to sleep apnea such as waking up short of breath or having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep with a dry mouth or waking up with a dry mouth, it is important to consult your doctor for further evaluation. Here you can find more information about symptoms, causes, when to see a doctor and treatment options.