It is important to not ignore sleep apnea. By ignoring sleep apnea, your risks of health complications such as heart damage and risk of stroke and heart attack increases. Avoiding treatment can do a lot of harm to your health. If sleep apnea is not diagnosed and treated, you are always presented with symptoms of other problems to your primary physician. While you might be able to receive treatment for symptoms related to sleep apnea, it won’t ever fully provide a cure because you are not receiving treatment for the main culprit. Understanding sleep apnea causes is key to proper treatment.
Sleep Apnea Causes
With a blocked airway, it is difficult to breathe as it is keeping air from traveling freely. When you’re awake, throat muscles help keep your airway stiff and open so air can flow into your lungs. When you sleep, these muscles relax, which narrows your throat. Normally, this narrowing of your throat doesn’t prevent air from flowing into and out of your lungs. However, if you have sleep apnea, your airway can become partially or fully blocked because of the following reasons:
- Your throat muscles and tongue relax more than normal.
- Your tongue and tonsils are large compared to the opening into your windpipe.
- You are overweight.
- The shape of your head and neck may cause a smaller airway size in the mouth and throat area.
- The aging process limits your brain signals’ ability to keep your throat muscles stiff during sleep.
As a result, not enough air flows into your lungs if your airway is partially or fully blocked during sleep. In the end, you or your loved one will experience loud snoring and a drop in your blood oxygen level.