If you keep waking up with a very sore throat, frequently feel exhausted throughout the day, or have heard your partner complain about loud snoring throughout the night, you might have sleep apnea – a severe disorder where breathing is frequently interrupted while you’re asleep, forcing your body to wake up briefly to get some air. Since leaving sleep apnea untreated can lead to heart problems and other potentially deadly health issues, it needs to be treated as soon as possible. But to do that, first the underlying source of the problem needs to be found. Here are 5 potential causes of sleep apnea to be aware of.
1. Excess Weight
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, and in many cases it happens as a result of being overweight. Obesity is highly associated with soft tissues near the back of your mouth and throat; if these tissues relax while you’re asleep, they can block the airway. This is why, in many cases, losing just 10 percent of your body weight might improve your OSA – or even get rid of it entirely!
2. A Smaller Airway
Even if you have a healthy weight, your natural anatomy could still put you at risk for OSA. Anything that crowds the upper airway can block your breathing. For adults, this might mean having a big tongue or small chin. Children with overly large tonsils or glands in their upper airway also tend to suffer from sleep apnea more often.
3. Excessive Alcohol Use
Alcohol tends to relax the muscles near the back of your throat, making it more likely for them to collapse. If you’re suffering from OSA, limiting your alcohol intake can go a long way towards relieving your symptoms.
Nasal congestion brought on by allergies can irritate and inflame your nasal passageways, causing them to narrow and increasing the chances for sleep apnea and snoring. Luckily, relieving the symptoms of your allergies will also help you sleep soundly again.
5. A Problem with the Brain
Even if your airway remains unobstructed, you might still suffer from a rare form of sleep apnea known as central sleep apnea. This is when the brain fails to send the proper signals to control your breathing. It’s usually a side effect of other conditions that affect the brain stem, including damage done by a stroke or neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.
No matter what the cause of your sleep apnea is, the first step is to have your condition diagnosed by a professional. Once it has been confirmed, you can receive appropriate treatment, such as oral appliance therapy. Find out the truth behind your restless nights so that you can get the quality sleep you need to enjoy life to the fullest again.
About the Practice
At Sleep Dallas in Irving, we help patients find relief from sleep apnea and snoring as well as the fatigue and teeth grinding that are often associated with them. We offer oral appliances as a more comfortable, convenient alternative to CPAP therapy. If you think your sleep is being interrupted and need to schedule an appointment, visit our website or call (844) 409-4657.
The post What’s Interrupting Your Sleep? 5 Causes of Sleep Apnea appeared first on Sleep Dallas Blog.