Sleep is an integral component of your well-being. It allows the renewal of cells in your body and rejuvenates you, ready for the next day. Unfortunately, disorders such as sleep apnea in the Woodlands can affect your sleep quality and cause undesirable symptoms such as loud snoring, daytime sleepiness, morning headache, and morning headache. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes repeated episodes of interrupted breathing. If you snore and wake up tired even after a whole night of sleep, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Here is more about this disorder.
What causes sleep apnea?
There are different types of sleep apnea, the most common one being obstructive sleep apnea. The causes, therefore, vary depending on the type of disorder you may have. The following explains the reason behind obstructive sleep apnea.
The back of your throat consists of muscles that support the soft palate, tongues, sidewalls of the throat, and the uvula. These muscles relax when you sleep, narrowing the airway, making you not breathe in enough air. Although throat muscles usually relax as you sleep, sleep apnea causes these muscles to overly relax, affecting breathing. As a result, carbon dioxide builds up in your blood as the oxygen level decreases.
Your brain senses this and briefly rouses you from sleep, a process that happens so fast. Waking up allows you to open your airways, and when this happens, you produce a gasping or choking sound. The pattern repeats itself several times through the night, impairs the ability to achieve quality sleep.
Central sleep apnea is a less common sleep disorder in which your brain fails to transmit signals to your breathing muscles. As a result, you may stop breathing for a short period, and you may awaken suddenly with shortness of breath.
Risk factors for sleep apnea
Sleep apnea can affect everyone regardless of age and gender. However, certain factors predispose you to this disorder, and they include:
When you have extra body fat, some of them deposit around your upper way, which may cause your throat to be overly narrow during sleep as the muscles relax. Losing extra pounds can help you reduce your risk of sleep apnea and reduce bothersome symptoms such as snoring. Besides sleep apnea, obesity makes you susceptible to other health concerns like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
People who smoke are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than those who do not. Smoking irritates the nose and throat, causing inflammation and swelling of the tissues. As a result, there is limited space for airflow, which makes it harder to breathe. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of sleep apnea and other medical problems such as back pain and lung cancer.
- Nasal congestion
Your nasal tissues can become inflamed or irritated due to flu, allergies, and sinusitis. When you have nasal congestion, breathing through your nose becomes challenging, putting you at risk of sleep apnea. Other potential causes of nasal congestion include enlarged adenoids, alcohol and overuse of decongestant nasal spray.
If you have any further inquiries about sleep apnea, consult with your specialist today at Scott Young, DDS.