What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the blockage of the airway during sleep. It occurs when the muscles in the upper airway collapse, which interferes with proper breathing.

During sleep apnea episodes, air is prevented from entering the lungs. This results in the falling of oxygen level in the bloodstream and the organs receive less oxygen. The heart may even try to compensate by pumping faster and raising blood pressure. With repeated obstructive sleep apnea episodes, the supply of oxygen to the organs becomes progressively depleted. So instead of restful rejuvenation during sleep, the heart and organs actually become more stressed.

Additionally, the brain will arouse the person from deep sleep to allow the resumption of airflow. While this may not wake the person fully, it will disrupt his or her sleep cycles. Because of this, sleep apnea sufferers will rarely get a full night’s rest.

Common signs include loud snoring, gasping or choking during sleep. Sufferers stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer, up to hundreds of times per night- sometimes reducing blood oxygen to dangerously low levels.