Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s airway is narrowed during the night, causing them to stop breathing repeatedly. There are various factors that contribute to causing this airway blockage. To learn more about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, visit our website. Now, let’s learn about five of the top causes of sleep apnea and how a sleep test can help.
The most common cause of sleep apnea is being overweight. The excess of fat in the neck area causes a narrowing of the airway when you lie down. Studies show that losing weight can cure obstructive sleep apnea and is actually the most effective way to reduce symptoms.
2. Enlarged Tonsils or Adenoids
When your tonsils or adenoids are greatly enlarged, your airway becomes narrowed. Because of this, obstructive sleep apnea can occur due to the pauses in breathing while asleep. This is especially a common cause of sleep apnea for children.
3. Relaxed Muscles
Naturally, when people fall asleep, their muscles become more relaxed, including the soft tissue in their mouth and throat. This soft tissue can cause a blocked airway which also creates moments of halted breathing at night.
4. Faulty Brain Functions
Sometimes in a person with sleep apnea, the neurological controls for breathing don’t work correctly. When the rhythm and control of breathing are malfunctioning, you aren’t taking consistent breaths while asleep.
5. Dental Conditions
Another cause of sleep apnea in children is due to dental conditions, like having an overbite. When the jaw isn’t aligned properly, the airway can be narrower and the overbite would need correction for sleep apnea to improve.
How Can a Sleep Test Help?
You may be referred by a doctor for a portable sleep test or a laboratory-based sleep study. This test will collect information related to sleep, such as your heart rate, oxygen levels and nasal airway pressure. Based on this test, you’ll find out if you tested positive or negative for sleep apnea and your family doctor will determine the steps from there. Sleep tests are the best way to get to the bottom of your sleep issues, which is why we offer these tests.
Obstructive sleep apnea affects 1 in 5 adults, so you or someone you know could benefit from a sleep test. If you experience any symptoms of sleep apnea, be sure to talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Contact us if you have any questions!