According to Dr. Natalia Tsar in West Palm Beach, sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can cause a range of physical and psychological problems. The condition involves in the patient stopping their breathing repeatedly and starting again. Some of the main symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring loudly and fatigue even after sleeping a full night.
There are three different types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea and complex sleep apnea syndrome. The throat muscles assist in keeping the airway open and stiff when a person is awake. This allows air to flow into the lungs. However, the muscles relax and cause the airway to become narrow during sleep. While in most cases, this doesn’t prevent the lungs from getting enough air, sleep apnea can cause the airway to become fully or partially blocked.
Sleep apnea is common among people whose tongue and throat muscles relax more than it is normal. Some people have large tonsils and tongues which are bigger than the windpipe opening and the excess fat tissue in overweight people can cause the windpipe walls to become thicker. According to TMJ dentists, the bone structure of a person’s neck and head can also be a cause for sleep apnea as it can determine the size of the mouth and throat opening.
Age can also be a cause for sleep apnea. The process of aging may limit the brain’s ability to send signals to keep the throat muscles stiff while sleeping. Therefore, people who are older are more likely to develop sleep apnea as the airway may be narrower and more prone to collapsing. There are other ways in which the airway can get fully or partially blocked while sleeping. This can result in reduced air flow into the lungs and may cause loud snoring and a drop in oxygen levels in the blood. When oxygen levels drop to dangerous levels, the brain interferes the sleep to allow normal breathing to resume. If the oxygen levels in the blood drop frequently, it can result in poor quality sleep and the release of stress hormones. These hormones cause a higher heart rate and may increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and arrhythmias. In the worst case scenario, the stress hormones may lead to heart failure.
If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can wreak havoc on your entire body by altering the way in which your body uses energy .These changes can lead to the development of diabetes and obesity.