Causes of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which you stop breathing for several seconds, reducing the amount of oxygen in your blood, while you are sleeping. Apneic events (when you stop breathing) can last anywhere from 10 seconds to 90 seconds, and wake you up, whether or not you know it, disrupting your sleep cycle. Continually disrupted sleep can lead to serious consequences, such as irritability, daytime sleepiness, and health problems. There are several different causes of sleep apnea, and Fusion Dental Specialists may be able to help.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), is a type of sleep apnea that is caused by blockages in your airway, which significantly restrict your ability to breathe properly at night. There are several factors that can cause these blockages. One of the biggest causes of OSA is excess weight and obesity. The development of excess soft tissue in the mouth and throat can slip back into your airway when your muscles relax as you sleep. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 30. A BMI over 40 can also lead to the obesity hyperventilation syndrome. Excess body fat both interferes with the movement of the chest and causes your lungs to become compressed, leading to very poor, shallow, breathing, Other causes of OSA include:
Central Sleep Apnea
Central sleep apnea (CSA) is a less common form of sleep apnea. Where OSA is caused by blockages to the airway, CSA is caused by a failure of communication between your brain and the muscles that control your breathing. CSA is often attributed to the experience of a stroke or heart failure, as well as taking certain medications. Age can also play a role. As you age, the ability of your brain to keep the muscles of your throat stiff and open becomes limited, thus raising the risk for your airway to narrow or collapse.
Sleep Apnea in Children
Children can also experience obstructive sleep apnea. Their sleep apnea is usually caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids (a mass of soft tissue located in the nasal passage). It can also be caused by dental issues, such as an overbite. Much like an adult, a misaligned jaw can cause the tongue and excess tissues in the throat to block the airway during sleep.
If you are waking up exhausted, and experience significant daytime sleepiness, you may have sleep apnea. Visiting a sleep specialist can tell you for sure. For options on how we can treat your sleep apnea, contact Fusion Dental Specialists today at (503) 653-2299.
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