It is rare for people to have trouble breathing while going about their day as usual. During our waking hours, air easily flows in and out of our lungs, first passing through our airways. The throat muscles allow this to occur, as they stiffen to keep air moving freely. When you lie down to go to bed, these same muscles relax, narrowing the throat and leading to inhibited air movement. In many cases, this results in sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes vary from the obvious to the not so obvious. You may be at a higher risk for this disorder if you have:
Throat muscles and a tongue that tend to relax more than normal. This can lead to trouble breathing at night and prompt frequent awakenings, greatly hindering your overall quality of sleep.
A head and neck shape that induces a smaller airway and less air movement throughout your throat and neck.
A large tongue and tonsils, which can essentially block your windpipe.
Extra fat tissue around your neck, which can result in a narrow windpipe,
Faulty signals sent from your brain to your throat muscles, resulting in too much throat relaxation and a collapsed airway. This problem often occurs with the onset of old age.
In addition to these sleep apnea causes, blood oxygen levels often plummet when airways are blocked during sleep. When this happens, your brain may trigger your body awake to re-stiffen your airway muscles and get your breathing back to normal again.
You are more prone to experiencing these sleep apnea causes if you are:
Overweight or have a thick neck
Part of a family with a history of sleep apnea
Over the age of 60
A nasal congestion sufferer with a deviated septum
An alcohol or sedative user
If you experience any of these sleep apnea causes, be sure to speak to a specialist.
Consult our sleep apnea specialist for more information on the causes of sleep apnea. If you are experiencing any of these causes yourself, call to schedule an appointment for treatment. There is no use needlessly suffering from sleep apnea.