What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a prevalent sleep disorder, but what exactly causes it? At Smiles of Bulverde, we believe in empowering our patients with knowledge. Let's delve into the causes of sleep apnea and explore the sleep apnea treatment options in San Antonio.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. This interruption can lead to a variety of health issues, including daytime fatigue, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Understanding the causes of sleep apnea is the first step towards finding an effective sleep apnea treatment in San Antonio.

The Role of the Throat Muscles

One major cause of sleep apnea is the relaxation of the muscles in the back of your throat. When these muscles relax, your airway narrows or closes as you breathe in, and breathing momentarily ceases. This pattern can repeat itself five to thirty times or more each hour, all night, impairing your ability to reach the deep, restful phases of sleep.

The Impact of Obesity

Obesity is another significant risk factor for sleep apnea. Excess body weight contributes to sleep apnea by causing fat deposits around the upper airway that obstruct breathing. Losing weight can often reduce the severity of sleep apnea and is a key part of any comprehensive sleep apnea treatment plan in San Antonio.

The Role of Age and Gender

Age and gender also play a role in sleep apnea. Men are two to three times more likely to have sleep apnea than women. However, women increase their risk if they're overweight, and their risk also rises after menopause. Sleep apnea occurs significantly more often in older adults as well.

Other Factors

Other factors that can cause or contribute to sleep apnea include smoking, nasal congestion, diabetes, and a family history of sleep apnea. Even the shape of your neck and head can influence your airway's size and its potential to narrow or collapse.

The Importance of Proper Diagnosis

Given the numerous potential causes of sleep apnea, proper diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment. This process begins with a thorough evaluation, which may include a physical examination, a review of your medical history, and a discussion of your symptoms. In some cases, we may recommend a sleep study to gather more detailed information about your sleep patterns and breathing.

Once we have a clear understanding of the underlying causes of your sleep apnea, we can develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This may include lifestyle changes, such as weight loss or smoking cessation, as well as specific therapies like oral appliance therapy or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Seek Sleep Apnea Treatment Today

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, don't wait. Reach out to us at Smiles of Bulverde. Drs. Jamie Knox and Lisa Ding are here to help you understand your condition and guide you towards the best sleep apnea treatment in San Antonio. Call us today at (210) 907-8666 to request an appointment. Your journey to better sleep and improved health starts here.

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