Cause of Sleep Apnea

Updated on January 14, 2020

Sleep Apnea

This is a condition that occurs when you lack oxygen in your airways for a period during your sleep. When the situation repeats itself over the years, you develop the condition. It has the effect of causing complications such as heart disease and premature death. The primary cause of sleep apnea in adults is obesity. The excess weight causes the soft tissues on the airways to constrict and block the passage of air. The condition is common in adults and affects children with conditions such as down syndrome and obesity. If you wish to receive proper care from a periodontist in The Woodlands area, visit our offices and receive the appropriate medical care.

Weight Complications

The most significant percentage of people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea have a weight issue. Weight issues relate to being overweight or obese. An overweight person has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 25 -29.9. An obese person has a BMI recording above 30. When your weight increases, your chances of getting sleep apnea also increases by 14%. Statistics show that overweight and obese people have a seven times higher chance of getting sleep apnea compared to their appropriate weight counterparts. Another weight factor is the size of the neck that should remain below 17 inches for men and 15 inches for women. The airways at the neck region may suffer constriction and bring about sleep apnea for those with an overweight neck manifested by the size. Those who have excess obesity have the highest risk of developing sleep apnea and related complications. When suffering from excess weight, your chest becomes compressed by the fat, and your lung space becomes narrow, making you take short breaths due to compressed lungs. The short inefficient breaths, coupled with intermittent closing of the airways, further complicates the problem.

Demographical Causes

Obstructive sleep apnea affects people based on their age, gender, and family history. It affects middle-aged people more compared to the younger generation but affects the elderly, especially above 65 years of age. The older generation has reduced brain capacity and has minimal strength and control over the muscles at the neck. It affects their ability to control the expansion and contraction of the airways during sleep that leads to developing the condition. Statistics have also shown that men have a four times higher chance of getting the disease compared to women. The opportunity to get the condition increases in women when they get pregnant or when menopause approaches. Age factor also reduces the gender parity gap, balancing the probability of a woman or a man getting the condition in old age. Family history also contributes to whether you get the disease or not. Family history affects issues concerning obesity that affects the possibility of getting obstructive sleep apnea.

Effects of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea increases blood pressure leading to hypertension, which causes many illnesses. It leads to heart-related diseases such as heart attacks. It also leads to diabetes and gastroesophageal reflux. Increased high blood pressure also causes anxiety and may lead to depression, also associated with the lack of sleep. People suffering from sleep apnea register poor productivity at the workplace and may cause work-related accidents if working in a factory setting.

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