Sleep disorders can get in the way of sleeping through the night, which is an essential part of maintaining good health, but thankfully sleep medicine is a field focusing solely on these issues. Without a full night’s rest, a person may not be able to function properly, and this can get in the way of…
Common Causes of Sleep Apnea
Being diagnosed with sleep apnea can be scary, but understanding the causes and risk factors behind this sleep disorder may help you come to terms with the diagnosis. There is also the possibility that addressing some of the causes may help lessen the affects of this disorder.
Risk factors and causes that contribute to sleep apnea
Some people are more likely to be diagnosed with this disorder. Out of the 18 million Americans diagnosed with this condition, as stated by the National Sleep Foundation, there are some common causes of the symptoms and various risk factors that play a role in a person’s chances of developing this health problem.
Carrying more body weight is connected to various health problems, and that is also true for sleep disorders. When a person is overweight, the fat can accumulate around the airway, putting extra pressure on it and making it temporarily close during sleep. While not every person who has been diagnosed with sleep apnea is overweight, many are. Losing weight can help an individual have a healthier lifestyle overall and may help with this particular health issue although it may not cure it entirely.
Genetics and hereditary causes
Some people are at risk simply because sleep disorders run in the family. Other people have this sleep disorder as a result of a naturally more constricted airway or larger tonsils and adenoids. Another contributing factor that people have no control over is gender. This health problem is more commonly diagnosed in men than in women. Taking note of family history or genetics is important to understanding how a person may be at risk for certain health conditions.
There are also certain lifestyle habits that have been known to contribute to sleep conditions. Both smoking and excessive drinking can lead to this condition and decrease a person’s overall health. That is not to say that every individual diagnosed with sleep apnea smokes or drinks, but people who do partake in these activities may be at greater risk than those who do not.
Pre-existing health issues
Lastly, there are some health problems that can increase the likelihood of an individual also being diagnosed with this sleep disorder. The following have been linked to restless sleep and difficulty breathing during sleep:
- High blood pressure
- Chronic nasal congestion
Addressing these issues, such as eating healthy or using a nasal spray before going to sleep, may help with the symptoms. A doctor may recommend making these changes if other health conditions affect a sleep disorder diagnosis.
While it is difficult to link sleep apnea to any one specific cause, there are many factors that are related to this condition. That does not mean that each of the conditions discussed above equate to a person being diagnosed with a sleep disorder. However, these are the links that have been found to cause or put people at risk for sleep conditions and other health problems.
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