Sleep Apnea-Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors

Sleep Apnea-Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors

January 4, 2022

Sleep apnea is a sleep-related disorder. It causes you to stop and start breathing while you sleep. You might be suffering from sleep apnea if you feel exhausted after sleeping the whole night and experiencing gasps and snorts at sleep.

There are several types of sleep apnea:

Obstructive sleep apnea: It occurs when your throat muscles block the airway during sleep. One of its treatments is using a positive pressure to open the airway while sleeping. Another treatment, use a snoring mouthpiece to thrust the lower jaw forward at night.

Complex sleep apnea: Also referred to as treatment-emergent central apnea. It occurs when you have both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea happens when your brain sends improper signals to the muscles that facilitate controlling breathing.

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, see your doctor for treatment. Treatment will lessen your signs and symptoms and prevent heart complications and other problems.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Often, the first signs are noticed by your sleeping partner. Many of the affected are not aware of it. The symptoms sometimes overlap, making it difficult to know which kind of sleep apnea one has. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Restlessness during sleep and frequent nighttime awakenings
  • Snoring
  • You experience episodes where you stop breathing during sleep
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • When grasping for air when asleep
  • Trouble in concentrating, irritability and forgetfulness

A person with central apnea will report recurrent insomnia, although you might experience a gasping sensation upon awakening. Children also experience symptoms that include:

  • Unusual sleeping positions like sleeping with the neck hyper-extended
  • Having difficulty in swallowing and daytime mouth breathing
  • Sleepiness in class often misinterpreted as laziness
  • Sweating too much at night
  • Experiencing inward movement of the ribcage when inhaling

If you or your child experience the above symptoms, visit us for sleep apnea treatment at Pittston, PA. Our doctors will accord you the best treatment services.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

Several factors contribute to the collapse of the airway. They include:

  • An underlying neurological problem
  • Having nasal congestion
  • Additional fat stores and thickened tissues around the airway
  • Presence of Lex muscles in the mouth and throat

These causes can result from:

  • Being overweight
  • Genetic factors
  • You have swollen or large tonsils
  • Allergies and colds
  • Kidney and heart failure
  • Having thyroid problems

What Happens when Sleep Apnea is Untreated?

Sleep apnea can result in some health problems when left untreated. These problems include hypertension, stroke, enlargement of the heart muscle tissue, and diabetes. In addition, sleep apnea doesn’t go off after two nights; hence, the resulting conditions can be deadly over time.


Some treatments of apnea are:

Conservative treatments: Conservative therapy is necessary when you have obstructive sleep apnea. Obese people can lose weight. Even a small amount of weight loss will help reduce the apneic events number for most patients. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you should avoid certain sleeping pills and alcohol. The pills prolong the apneic periods.

Mechanical Therapy: Also called positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. Here patients wear a mask, and an air blower pushes air through the mouth gently. You adjust the air pressure while sleeping to prevent tissues from the upper airway tissue. Mechanical therapy prevents airway closure, but apnea episode comes back when PAP is stopped.

Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea

Certain factors increase your risk of sleep apnea. They include:

  1. Having a narrow airway: One might inherit a narrowed throat. Tonsils can also block and enlarge the airway.
  2. Obesity: Excess weight increase the risk of sleep apnea. The upper airway might contain deposits of fat that might block your breathing.
  3. Being older: The more you get old, the higher the risk of sleep apnea.
  4. Stroke: It increases the risk of treatment-emergent central sleep apnea
  5. Using narcotic pain medications: Long-acting opioid medications accelerate the risk of central sleep apnea.
  6. Heart disorders: Suffering from congestive heart failure increases the risk.


  • Daytime fatigue: Repeated awakenings lead to severe daytime drowsiness
  • Liver problems: When suffering from sleep apnea, you’ll produce abnormal results on liver function tests.
  • Memory problems and other cognitive functions
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Sleep apnea can lead to cancer
  • Develop cardiovascular problems due to inadequate oxygen supply
  • Experience asthma problems