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What causes sleep apnea?

What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common condition by which a sufferer experiences breathing pauses frequently during sleep. The following are a few of the reasons people experience sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea the most common variety of sleep apnea. It is caused by a collapse of the upper airway that makes it difficult to get air into the lungs. This type of sleep apnea is more common in men than in women, and is more common in those who are overweight as well, particularly if they sleep on their backs.

In people of normal weight who have obstructive sleep apnea, there is usually some kind of abnormality in the lower face, like an unusually small chin, an overbite, or a large tongue.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is much more rare than obstructive sleep apnea. It happens when the brain does not send normal signals to the chest to breathe properly while asleep. The causes of central sleep apnea are typically neurologic disease (that is, a disease of the brain) or severe heart disease. Certain medications, particularly strong pain medications like morphine and other narcotics, are also known to cause central sleep apnea.

Mixed Sleep Apnea

Mixed sleep apnea, as you might expect, is a combination of the first two types. It will begin as central sleep apnea, and then develop into OSA over time.

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact our dentists at Surdel Dental Centre to book an assessment today.

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