Request an Appointment Forms Find Us Reviews Call Map
Important Health and safety notice regarding COVID-19

What Causes Sleep Apnea? – Chesapeake, VA

Learn More about Sleep Apnea

Man snoring in need of a sleep dentist in Chesapeake.

Does your partner complain about your loud snoring keeping them awake at night? Maybe you struggle with daytime fatigue despite sleeping all night? You might be suffering from an underlying condition called sleep apnea. The disorder causes frequent pauses in breathing while you’re sleeping that can harm your health and your quality of life. Although you might be bit surprised to be diagnosed with the disorder, sleep apnea is more common than you might realize. Thankfully, your sleep dentist in Chesapeake will find the underlying cause to create the customized treatment plan you need to breathe better.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Model of obstructive sleep apnea.

There are three types of sleep apnea, each of which is caused by different factors. Your sleep study will play an influential role in identifying the type of the disorder to create your customized treatment plan.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most prominent form of the condition. It occurs when the soft tissues and muscles in the back of the mouth and throat collapse, causing your airway to narrow, which makes the uvula vibrate; thus, chronic snoring is often a symptom of the disorder.

As your airway narrows, it can cause frequent pauses in breathing with each event potentially lasting for a minute or longer. This lowers the oxygen level in your blood, placing strain on your body that can cause adverse health concerns, like cardiovascular disease. It can also significantly impact your quality of life if it’s not treated.

Risk Factors

Although anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea, there are several factors that influence your risk, including:

  • Obesity
  • Large neck circumference
  • Narrowed airway
  • Being male
  • Being older
  • Family history
  • Use of sedatives or tranquilizers
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Nasal congestion
  • Medical conditions

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is less common than other forms. It occurs when the brain doesn’t correctly transmit signals to the muscles responsible for breathing, so your body may not make an effort to breathe for a short time. It’s common to wake with shortness of breath or have difficulty staying asleep. It’s most often caused by an underlying medical issue.

Risk Factors

Although central sleep apnea is less common, there are still various risk factors that can increase your odds, such as:

  • Being older
  • Being male
  • Heart disorders
  • Narcotic pain medications
  • Stroke

Complex Sleep Apnea

Complex sleep apnea is also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. Essentially, it’s a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Risk Factors

The exact causes of complex sleep apnea are not yet fully understood; however, it’s believed there are several factors that contribute to the condition, like genetics or a history of insomnia. Research shows it can be triggered by low carbon dioxide levels. Males also appear to have an increased risk of the disorder.

Breathe Better Today

Woman wearing a CPAP machine for sleep apnea.

If you’re struggling to get a good night’s rest, you might need treatment for sleep apnea in Chesapeake. For over 25 years, Estrada Dentistry has provided customized solutions to help our patients breathe better. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation for sleep apnea therapy.