Central sleep apnea is when the signal from the brain to breath is not working properly. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of apnea. OSA arises from a collapse of the soft tissue and tongue in the back of the throat. Thus, the airway gets occluded and no oxygen enters the lungs. A patient’s sleeping patterns are interrupted when the soft tissue blocks the airway, causing the patient to stop breathing for a short period of time. There is a substantial drop in oxygen concentration in the blood. The brain reacts to a lack of oxygen and sends signals throughout the body to wake up. The patient is aroused out of sleep to momentarily clear the airway and then goes right back to sleep. This vicious cycle of no oxygen and fragmented sleep happens hundreds of times a night.
Obesity and morbid obesity is common in many apnea patients and weight gain can play a part in the development of this condition. Central sleep apnea is caused by a central nervous system defect and can develop in patients who have had a stroke, heart attack, or other serious medical conditions.
The most common obstructive sleep apnea patient is an overweight male over age 40. However, obstructive sleep apnea can develop in anyone.
Potential causes or contributing factors to development of sleep apnea:
- Weight gain or obesity
- Anatomic abnormalities, such as nasal obstruction, small jaw, deviated septum, narrow airway, or enlarged tonsils
- Snoring (can be a cause and symptom!)
- Lack of sufficient sleep
- High blood pressure
- Not breast fed as an infant
- Alcohol and sedatives
- Presence of allergies
- Genetic predisposition
- Immune system abnormalities
- Any condition that may obstruct breathing, such as hypothyroidism, neuromuscular disorders, Down’s Syndrome, etc.
- Nasal congestion
- Heartburn or acid reflux
Minimize your risk of health problems as a result of sleep apnea. Maintain a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep each night, and visit our Pasadena Texas Sleep Apnea Office for annual check-ups. Call us at 832-487-0647 today and take control of your health.