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Causes of sleep apnea: The most common and life-threatening sleep disorder in which breathing stops and begins continuously is sleep apnea. You may have sleep apnea if you snore excessively and are fatigued even after a full night’s sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea are the two most common types of sleep apnea. Understanding the causes of obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea may help you prevent the development of this severe sleep disease, and allow you to stay active and healthy.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring loudly
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing while sleeping — which another person might observe
  • Struggling to breathe, while sleeping
  • waking up with a dry tongue
  • Having trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Headache early in the morning
  • Excessive drowsiness during the day (hypersomnia)
  • Loss of concentration or focus
  • Mood swings

Causes of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

Overweight is one of the prominent causes of sleep apnea. Blockage by the soft tissue of the throat and mouth, is the most frequent cause of obstructive sleep apnea in people. This soft tissue can induce the airway to become clogged during sleep, when the tongue and throat muscles become loose. More than 50% of those who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are obese or overweight. A ten-percentage-point increase in weight increases your chance of OSA by six times, while the effect diminishes after age 60.

The Risk factors for OSA

  • A throat that is too narrow
  • a person with a round head
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hormones that cause excessive growth (acromegaly)
  • Allergies
  • Twisted septum (problem with nose structure)
  • Upper airway obstruction caused by medical problems
  • Drugs and alcohol abuse
  • Smoking and sinus infections

Expanded tonsils as well as dental issues including a significant overbite, are common causes of obstructive sleep apnea in youngsters. A tumor or swelling in the airway, as well as congenital abnormalities such Down syndrome and Pierre-Robin syndrome, are less prevalent causes.

Causes of Central Sleep Apnea

When your mind fails to relay instructions to your respiratory muscles, you may get this less prevalent type of sleep apnea. For a short amount of time, you make no attempt to breathe. You can wake up with breathing difficulties or find it difficult to fall or stay asleep.

The cause of CSA in children is frequently unknown. Even then, a variety of factors can obstruct the brain signals that ordinarily assist your infant in breathing. These, in turn, could lead to CSA:

  • Birth before the due date
  • Smoking, especially during pregnancy
  • Tumors of the brain
  • Cerebral palsy is a condition that affects the brain.
  • Injuries to the head
  • Issues with the brain stem or at the base of the skull

Risk factors

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Old age
  • Being a male
  • Opiod medications
  • Heart stroke


  • Maintain a balanced diet – Pick heart-healthy foods such as a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Not only will this prevent you from getting sleep apnea, but it will also help you maintain a healthy bodyweight and enhance your general health.
  • Workout on a regular basis – Even though you’re obese or overweight, being active can help you avoid sleep apnea. Regular exercise can help by lowering the accumulation of fluid in the lower legs during the day, which can then migrate upward in the body when people lie down and sleep. It may also lower the risk of apnea by lowering insulin resistance.
  • Quit smoking – Smoking raises your risk of sleep apnea, as well as a slew of other health issues and diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
  • Avoid antidepressants and sleep aids – Reduce your alcohol consumption and avoid any prescription that soothes your muscles and inhibits your central nervous system impulses, like sedatives and opioids.
  • Sleeping on your back is not recommended – Lie on your side (with specific pillows if needed) to reduce the likelihood of your tongue and soft palate collapsing into your airway and blocking oxygen passage.


Sleep apnea can be easily cured and managed by following a healthy lifestyle and taking actions to lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), dental devices that keep the throat and airway open, and jaw or throat surgery are all common therapies for sleep apnea. Weight loss, giving up smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and utilizing non-sedative and non-opioid alternatives to sedatives and opioids may all assist to overcome sleep apnea symptoms.

Bottom Line

Whatever may be the causes of sleep apnea it is a curable disorder. It is one of the most common diseases seen in adults nowadays. However, if you’re drowsy during the day or have trouble sleeping on a regular basis, you should always consult your ENT specialist.

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