The most restorative and restful time of the day for the human body is supposed to be during our sleep time.
However, this doesn’t prove true for those with OSA.
Their apneic events wake them hundreds of times a night, when their are breath pauses, disturbing what should be a continuous night of restful sleep.
Although most people are not aware of them, obstructive sleep apnea occurs for a number of reasons.
This makes it hard to seek the immediate medical attention that potential OSA patients might need.
The treatment process starts by knowing the causes and risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea.
CAUSE #1…Problems in the person’s airway.
Certain physical problems in the airway components result in the person’s airway being obstructed to some extent, resulting in OSA.
These obstructions include the throat muscles, soft palate, the tongue, the tonsils, and the upper and lower jaws.
Over-relaxed tongue and throat muscles are involved in some sleep apnea cases (OSA).
These muscles relax normally when a person sleeps, but when they relax more than normal problems occur.
This can cause a narrowing of the airway that results in an apneic event.
Obstructive sleep apnea can also be caused by enlarged and collapsed soft palates and tonsils.
CAUSE #2…Structural Abnormalities.
Some people’s OSA can be caused by anatomical structural abnormality.
For instance, the size of the airway may be affected by the bone structure and shape of the head and neck.
A large tongue and tonsils, and a thicker neck may also have an effect on the size of the air passage.
People with craniofacial syndrome can have structural abnormalities in the jaw, nose and mouth, that may make them more prone to obstructive sleep apnea.
For example, about 50% of people with Down Syndrome experience OSA.
That is largely due to decreased muscle tone, comparatively large tongues, and more narrow nasal/throat passages.
Studies have shown that obstructive sleep apnea may be caused, in part by obesity.
The problematic narrowing of the airways may be caused when fatty cells tend to amass and clog the throat tissue.
Obese people with OSA can have more airway obstruction because of undue pressure in the air passages.
Although women are more predisposed after menopause, men are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep study statistics show that one out of 25 middle-aged men has OSA, compared to only one in 50 women of that age group.
People over the age of 65 are two to three times more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea than children or adolescents.
3-Use of Alcohol, Sedatives and Cigarettes
Alcohol and sedatives tend to relax muscles, whereas smoking is said to cause inflammation in the upper airways.
Thereby, smokers are three times more likely to develop OSA.
Those with family members who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, should show extra care.
OSA seems to run in families, putting them at a heightened risk.
Chronic snoring, in some cases, is said to cause apneic events, even though snoring, in general indicates obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring may cause the soft palate to stretch, due to frequent vibration, thereby increasing its’ chances of collapse.
However, snoring alone does not make a person an automatic candidate for OSA. Other causes and risk factors should also be considered.