Sleep Apnea is a commonly diagnosed sleeping disorder that can be quite serious, the main cause of concern is that breathing can stop for over ten seconds during a diagnosed person’s sleep. This can decrease the amount of oxygen in the blood, causing the patient to wake up briefly several times during a sleep cycle. For all queries and appointments about sleep apnea in Everett, our team of professionals is dedicated to serving people with the best possible treatment options available.
There’s more than one common cause of sleep apnea.
For adults, the most common cause of sleep apnea is obesity or carrying excess weight, which can also be linked to how much muscle mass a person carries. (Being overweight is not always directly linked to body fat percentage.)
When sleep occurs, the muscles in the mouth and throat become more relaxed, which can cause the airways to become blocked. Our body responds by waking up, this can often happen numerous times in the night and greatly affects a person’s ability to recover and repair during sleep, as the sleep cycle is constantly interrupted.
Obesity and sleep apnea
Over half of all cases of sleep apnea are diagnosed in people who are overweight or obese. Let’s take a closer look at this fact to help understand how the two are further linked.
People are considered overweight or obese when body mass index or BMI as 25-29.9 for people overweight and 30.0 or above for obesity.
One unit higher in a person’s BMI has been proven to increase the chances of sleep apnea by 14%, whereas 10% weight gain of an individual can increase the chances of developing sleep apnea by up to six times. In obese individuals, it can be as high as seven times greater when compared to a person who is in the healthy BMI range.
Body Mass Index becomes a less relevant risk factor or cause of sleep apnea in people over the age of 60.
Other Known Causes of Sleep Apnea in Adults
Sleep apnea can be caused by other factors too, there isn’t a sole marker in a lot of people that can guarantee a person will be diagnosed with the condition or not. Many lifestyle choices can lead to a person developing sleep apnea, such as excessive smoking or drinking alcohol.
Neck Circumference in Men and Women
Another factor that can be considered in causing sleep apnea is neck circumference. Men with a neck circumference over 17 inches and women with a neck circumference over 15 inches have an increased risk of developing sleep apnea.
Causes of Sleep Apnea in Children
Sleep apnea can occur for different reasons in children, including enlarged adenoids or tonsils, or dental problems linked to a large underbite or overbite.
Other much less common causes can include tumors and growths in the airways, or genetic defects like down syndrome, which can cause an enlarged tongue, tonsils, and adenoids. This is combined with less muscle in the airways than other individuals, making it harder to breathe while asleep.
Childhood obesity can be a cause of sleep apnea but it is not as common as seen in adults.
This list is not exhaustive and it is always recommended to seek professional medical advice with any questions or concerns. This article is to be used as a guide and is not capable of diagnosing any medical conditions.
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