What Is The Root Cause Of Sleep Apnea?

What Is The Root Cause Of Sleep Apnea?

May 02, 2022

Sleep disorder is a rising concern among millions of adults and children. While sleep disorders rarely have serious symptoms, they are likely to affect your physical, mental, and emotional state. For instance, sleep disorders can cause difficulties focusing or sleepiness during the day, leading to poor learning at school.

Usually, sleep apnea is one of the most common types of sleep disorders. It happens when breathing stops for about 10 seconds during sleep and then starts again. This can happen repeatedly for several times an hour. Unfortunately, most people with sleep apnea aren’t aware of the condition. Most of these people learn about their sleep apnea symptoms through their sleep partners.

Common signs of sleep apnea to watch out for include:

  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes of breathing disruptions
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty focusing during the night
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Teeth grinding

Loud snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. However, it doesn’t always mean you have sleep apnea. For this reason, it’s always best to visit your dentist if you have signs of sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a type of sleep disorder characterized by abnormal breathing during sleep. People with sleep apnea experience multiple pauses in breath when sleeping. While they are temporary, these breathing lapses can affect the quality of your sleep and oxygen supply to your body organs, potentially causing serious health complications. Although it can affect individuals of all genders and ages, sleep apnea is more common in men. Usually, there are three types of sleep apnea.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. It happens due to airway obstruction. When sleeping, the muscles in your throat can relax too much, narrowing or closing your airway and stopping your breathing.
  • Central sleep apnea (CSA) is the second most common type of sleep apnea. It happens when the brain doesn’t send proper signals to the breathing muscles, leading to shallow and slower breathing.
  • Complex or mixed sleep apnea is the rarest and happens when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Regardless of the type of sleep apnea you have, it’s essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. Contact our dentist on Lebanon Road for diagnosis and treatment.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Usually, it can be difficult to identify the main cause of sleep apnea.


Common causes of obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Obesity and overweight
  • A narrow throat
  • Allergies
  • Medical conditions that cause congestion
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Excess growth due to hormones
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol or drug abuse
  • Deviated septum
  • Tonsils

CSA disorder has been linked to factors such as:

  • Heart conditions, stroke, and kidney problems
  • Certain medications or drugs like fentanyl or hydrocodone
  • High-altitude (above 15,000 feet)
  • Brain tumors
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Head injury
  • Problems at the base of the brain stem or skull

What Are The Risk Factors Of Untreated Sleep Apnea?

While not common, untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious complications. It’s therefore important to seek immediate treatment from a dentist near you if you experience any symptoms of sleep apnea.

Usually, medical treatment involves addressing the underlying conditions or/and preventing breathing disruptions when sleeping. If untreated, sleep apnea can cause complications such as:

  • Daytime fatigue – Repeated breathing disruptions during sleep affect your quality of sleep. You might experience severe daytime drowsiness, irritability, and fatigue. You might also feel moody, depressed, or quick-tempered. People with sleep apnea have an increased risk of car and workplace accidents.
  • High blood pressure, stroke, or heart problems. Sudden breath interruptions can reduce oxygen flow in the blood, potentially causing abnormal heartbeats, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular conditions.
  • Type 2 Diabetes. Sleep apnea increases your risk of insulin resistance and potentially type 2 diabetes.
  • Complications with surgery and medication. Sleep apnea can interfere with general anesthesia and certain medications. People with sleep apnea are also likely to develop complications after surgery.
  • Liver problems. Most people with sleep apnea are likely to experience abnormal results on liver function tests and can show signs of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
  • Sleep-deprived partners. Signs of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring, can prevent your bed partners from getting good sleep.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Do you need more information about sleep apnea and sleep appliances in Frisco? Contact Millennium Slimes on Legacy for more information.

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