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Why Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

sleep apnea treatmentSleeping is one of those elusive bodily functions we either care too much about or completely ignore.  It’s something you can’t get away from and when you don’t get enough of it the effects are drastic.

Sleep apnea is a condition that you probably didn’t pay much attention to until you realized you had it.  The fact that it happens when you’re unconscious means that pinpointing what causes it can be hard.

Luckily sleep apnea is well understood and the reasons for why you may have it aren’t as elusive as you may think.

What Causes sleep apnea?

Looking at what your body goes through during sleep apnea is a good way to figure out why it’s happening to you. While your fast asleep, your muscles relax.  This also happens in your throat.  The soft tissues inside which include the uvula, soft palate and the walls of your throat don’t remain as tense as they do during the day.

If they loosen enough, your airway can actually get so small that you don’t get adequate oxygen.  Your body can detect this and once your brain gets the signal, you’ll wake from sleep so that it can all tighten up again.

Waking up won’t fix your breathing; it’ll only hit the reset button.  As soon as the muscles relax to the same point as before you’ll repeat the process.  This is a problem because of how often it happens.

The apnea, or lack of breathing can actually occur dozens of times an hour and hundreds of times a night.  This can go on all night long.

Sleep deprivation has well documented side effects that affect everything from your blood pressure to your mood.  It’s obviously important to address but why is it happening in the first place?

Contributing factors

Many people are completely unaware at how little things can add up and cause something seemingly unrelated, like sleep apnea.  The following factors can aggravate or bring on sleep apnea:

  • Smoking:  The average smoker doesn’t know is that nicotine can have a relaxant effect on your throat muscles.
  • Obesity:  A lack of muscle tissue, increased fat in the neck and enlarged tonsils all contribute.
  • Structural Problems:  Any issues involving bone structure in the spine, face or nose can cause irregular breathing.
  • Aging and Family History:  If you’re predisposed you will have an increased chance and as you age your throat’s musculature changes.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

It’s frustrating having a good night’s sleep just out of reach but hope is not lost.  Millions of people suffer from sleep apnea and there’s a multitude of ways you can fix it whether it be medicinal, mechanically or surgically.

The first step is seeing an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor and having them assess your sleep.  After the assessment, the sleep apnea doctor will recommend the best treatment option.

 

Want Sinus Relief?

Book an Assessment
or call us at: (832) 237-7777

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