What causes sleep apnea?

Posted Jul 5th, 2019

What causes sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a relatively common condition where the sufferer experiences frequent breathing pauses during sleep. Here is a little more about sleep apnea from our Surrey and North Delta dentists.


OSA - Obstructive Sleep Apnea

OSA stands for obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common variety of sleep apnea. OSA is caused by a collapse of the upper airway which makes it difficult to get air into the lungs.

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in men than it is in women, and is more common in those who are overweight as well, particularly if they sleep on their backs.

When a person of normal weight suffers from OSA there is usually some kind of abnormality in the lower face, such as an unusually small chin, an overbite, or a large tongue.

CSA - Central Sleep Apnea

CSA is short for central sleep apnea which is much more rare than obstructive sleep apnea. CSA happens when the brain does not send normal signals to the chest to breathe properly while asleep. The causes of central sleep apnea tend to be neurologic disease (that is, a disease of the brain) or severe heart disease. Medications such as particularly strong pain killers like morphine and other narcotics are also known to cause central sleep apnea.

MSA - Mixed Sleep Apnea

MSA is a combination of the first two types. Mixed sleep apnea will begin as central sleep apnea, and then develop into obstructive sleep apnea over time.

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, contact our Surrey and Delta dentists at Scott 72 Dental Centre to book an assessment today.

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