What causes sleep apnea?

Posted Dec 7th, 2018

What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a common condition that causes suffers to experience frequent breathing pauses during sleep. The following are a few of the reasons people experience sleep apnea.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) the most common type of sleep apnea. It is caused by a collapse of the upper airway, which makes it difficult to get air into the lungs. OSA is more common in men than in women, and is also more common in people who are overweight, particularly if they sleep on their backs.

When people of normal weight have obstructive sleep apnea, there is usually some kind of abnormality in the lower face, like an unusually small chin, an overbite, or a large tongue.

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is far more rare than obstructive sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain does not send normal signals to the chest, telling it to breathe properly during asleep. The causes of central sleep apnea are most often neurologic disease (that is, a disease of the brain) or severe heart disease. Some medications, most notably strong pain medications like morphine and other narcotics, are also known to cause central sleep apnea.

Mixed Sleep Apnea

A combination of the first two types of sleep apnea is mixed sleep apnea. Mixed sleep apnea begins as central sleep apnea, and then develops into OSA over time.

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact our Delta dentists at Ladner Village Dental to book an assessment today.

Get on the path to a brighter, healthier smile. Contact Ladner Village Dental today!