What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder. The condition is typically defined by an unusually loud snore and daytime fatigue. Patients report feeling exhausted throughout the day, even after a full night's sleep. Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax, which partially closes the windpipes. When air passes through the constricted airway, the surrounding tissue vibrates, resulting in the loud snoring sound.
Frequent pauses in breathing are also commonly associated with obstructive sleep apnea. The pauses can last a few seconds, but may even halt the patient's breathing for a dangerous length of time. The body realizes it has stopped breathing and will wake itself up to activate the muscles in the throat or reposition the constricted airways. Patients may wake gasping or choking for oxygen. This keeps those living with sleep apnea from reaching the deep levels of sleep they need to feel rested and maintain overall physical wellness.