Causes of Sleep Apnea

The causes of Sleep Apnea Syndromes and risk factors include:

  • excessive weight,
  • a family history of sleep apnea,
  • a small lower jaw,
  • a thick neck,
  • a history of breathing difficulty during sleep as a child,
  • nasal blockages,
  • deformities of the throat and jaw
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Using alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers

Each of these risks shares a tendency for the throat’s anatomy to have a reduced airway diameter. A smaller airway increases the chances of Sleep Apnea Syndromes . By identifying what is causing the reduction in the airway, treatment for sleep apnea can be tailored to the most effective therapy.

The goal in OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) and most Sleep Apnea conditions is to increase the airway’s diameter by reducing tissues which are obstructive. Obstructive sleep apnea can be improved through conservative techniques such as weight loss, exercise, jaw repositioners, and tongue repositioning.

The most commonly recommended sleep apnea treatment is air pressure devices called CPAP masks that hold the airway open during sleep allowing normal breathing. Surgeries to open up the throat area are also available and can be used in more difficult cases of sleep apnea syndrome. But, the majority of the time, less aggressive treatments for sleep apnea conditions is very effective.