sleep apnea causes


Sleep apnea can affect both men and women of all ages. There are three types of Sleep Apnea – obstructive, central and mixed. Each of these forms of sleep apnea is defined by what causes the condition.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The most common form of apnea is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, which occurs as a result of an obstruction of airflow in the throat. Physical obstructions that cause OSA may involve the following factors:

  • As tissues relax during sleep, the airway narrows and may become blocked. For most people, the soft palate and tongue are the cause for the obstruction.
  • People with large tonsils are prone to Sleep Apnea.
  • Excess tissue in people with large necks or who are overweight tends to lead to obstruction of the airway during sleep.
  • Obesity is common in people with sleep apnea. Once sleep apnea begins, daytime drowsiness and fatigue tends to lead to further weight gain.
  • Use of alcohol and sedative medications increase the frequency and duration of breathing stoppage in sleep apnea.

Central Sleep Apnea and Mixed Sleep Apnea

The least common form of the condition is Central Sleep Apnea, which is caused by a disruption in the brain. A third type of apnea, Mixed Sleep Apnea, involves a combination of both obstructive and central apnea.

Who is at Risk?

Although apnea tends to be more common in men, women are also susceptible. Other factors that increase the risk of sleep apnea include age over 40 years old, overweight, large tonsils, excessively long patate or uvula, allergies or other sinus problems.

Various treatments exist today for patients who suffer from sleep apnea. These include oral devices, masks or Pillar implants that can help keep the airway open while you sleep. Other surgical options are also available to treat severe cases. Visit our Treatments page for more, or call Dr. Volpi, New York City’s leading specialist in snoring and sleep apnea, for a consultation today.

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