What is the Cause of Sleep Apnea?

Have you ever wondered what is the cause of sleep apnea and how you can possibly find treatment? The solution to you problem may be easier than you think.

Are you one of the estimated twenty-two million Americans suffering from sleep apnea?

You already know how it affects your life. You're snoring all night, and no matter what you do, you can't seem to get enough sleep. If you're using a CPAP machine you likely find relief there, but your apnea is still a part of your everyday life.

But, why? What is the underlying cause of sleep apnea, and how can you lessen its effect on your life?

Read on to find out the main culprits of sleep apnea.

Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Apnea is often associated with obesity, and with good reason. It's a major cause of sleep apnea in America.

Being overweight means that you're likely to have excess soft tissue in the throat and tongue areas. When your muscles relax while you're asleep, this tissue can cause the obstructions in the air passages that jolt your body awake.

This can lead to a vicious cycle of weight gain and apnea. Not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain because we eat more for energy when we aren't sufficiently rested. Sleep apnea leads to weight gain, which subsequently leads to worsened sleep apnea symptoms.

If this sounds familiar to you, there's good news. Even losing a small amount of weight can go a long way in helping reduce your sleep apnea symptoms. Though easier said than done, exercising and eating healthier can go a long way in your overall health--and not just while you're awake.

Your Family Genetics

Sometimes, the cause of your sleep apnea can be out of your hands entirely.

Genetics can often lend a hand in sleep apnea, particularly if you aren't obese. Some sleep apnea sufferers have simply inherited a craniofacial structure that contains a narrow airway.

Similarly, if your tonsils and adenoids are large and in charge, they could be blocking off your breathing.

Your genetics can also heavily affect your body fat distribution. If you're predisposed to accumulating excess fatty tissues around your neck or face area, your risk for sleep apnea will be heightened.

Lifestyle Risk Factors

Your lifestyle can go a long way in making or breaking your sleep apnea symptoms.

If you're a heavy alcohol drinker, the likelihood of developing sleep apnea is significantly heightened. In men who drink excessively, the risk is increased by a whopping twenty-five percent.

Alcohol and some drugs cause the central nervous system to relax, which can lead to the soft tissue obstruction that causes sleep apnea. Particularly if you're predisposed to apnea, this can be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's back.

Alcohol also leads to poor sleep and weight gain, which are both contributing factors in sleep apnea.

Final Thoughts on the Cause of Sleep Apnea

If you suspect that you might be at risk for sleep apnea, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, being aware of the possible causes can help you take control of your sleep apnea symptoms.

Contact us today to find out how we can help treat your sleep apnea.

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