Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans every day, and often the condition is undiagnosed. So what causes the interruption of breathing during sleep? The answer depends on your type of sleep apnea and preexisting risk factors.

What are the types of sleep apnea?

There are two main types:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) involves a relaxation of the tonsils, tongue, soft palate or other soft tissues during sleep, which obstructs your airway and restricts breathing.
  • In central sleep apnea (CSA), your brain occasionally fails to signal your breathing muscles while sleeping.

Both types of sleep apnea have similar symptoms, including excessive snoring, daytime drowsiness or a feeling that you’re never getting enough sleep, and being awakened with a gasp or choke. An initial test will determine your type of sleep apnea and the best approach to treatment.

What are the risk factors for sleep apnea?

There are many potential risk factors that influence your chances of getting OSA or CSA. Both conditions are more prevalent in men, and OSA is more common in African American men. OSA risk factors include:

  • Age
  • Alcohol use
  • Sedative use
  • Smoking
  • Excess weight
  • Narrow neck or airway
  • Family history

CSA risk factors are slightly different, and include a history of brain tumors, stroke, or heart disorders.

Your treatment approach varies based on the type of sleep apnea and severity of your symptoms. Schedule a consultation at Pacific Dental Care in Pasadena, and get your sleep apnea test right away.

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