The Misunderstood Condition of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Its Causes

Obstructive sleep apnea is a very common problem in men, women, and even some children, but few people are aware of what causes it. This condition occurs when breathing stops repeatedly during sleep for intervals of 10 seconds or more. The oxygen levels in the bloodstream drop and most sufferers experience headaches upon waking. The lack of oxygen and rest due to snoring can cause the individual to feel tired even after a full night’s sleep. Sleep apnea has a wide range of causes, symptoms, and common physical effects.

Sleep Apnea in Adults

The most common reason for obstructive sleep apnea in adults is obesity and girth in the neck. When a sufferer of this disorder is asleep, when throat and tongue muscles are more relaxed, these tissues can obstruct the airway and block normal breathing. This is only one of the factors that cause adults to suffer from sleep apnea. However, what causes it in children may differ slightly than in most adults.

Sleep Apnea in Children

There are various reasons for sleep apnea to appear in preadolescent children, including augmented tonsils, adenoids, and a myriad of dental conditions such as malocclusion. This is also referred to as an extreme overbite. Other causes could be tumor growths in the airway and various deformations of the palate due to birth defects. Down Syndrome has also been known to cause an enlarged tongue, adenoids and tonsils. It also causes diminished muscle tone in the upper palate. Pierre-Robin disorder causes a smaller lower jaw than usual to form, and the tongue tends to fall to the back of the throat while sleeping in a prone position.

Other Conditions

If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can cause several serious health problems, including Alzheimer’s Disease and death. It can also be a strain on marriages, causing couples to be unable to share a bed and get a restful night’s sleep together. It is vital for anyone showing signs of obstructive sleep apnea, particularly loud snoring accompanied by recurring daytime fatigue, to get a proper therapeutic assessment in the Vancouver Island, Canada, area.

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