Sleep Apnea Causes – The physiological, medical and genetic issues that can lead to the development of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a complex condition, and only by considering sleep apnea causes can the disorder truly be understood, and can sufferers be fully aware of what they are dealing with. The reason for the development of sleep apnea could stem from a number of issues, there could be a physiological impairment or medical condition – in which case the disorder could then potentially be treated – or it could instead be due to genetics. Whatever the cause, pinpointing the root of sleep apnea causes is vital in determining treatment options. If you think you may have the disorder but are wondering why, here are some of the possible reasons.
First it should be noted that there are three kinds of sleep apnea that can be experienced, and the causes of each vary slightly. Obstructive sleep apnea is primarily caused by physiological issues. The causes of snoring are often the same defects that can lead to Sleep Apnea. If a patient possesses an elongated soft palate or enlarged adenoids then they have a greater risk of snoring because the excess tissues causes greater vibrations when breathing. With obstructive sleep apnea, the effect is more severe. The irregularities can lead to an obstruction in the airway that causes the patient to stop breathing. Snoring and sleep apnea can also be enhanced with age, as the muscle tone deteriorates and the passages become more narrow.
These physical causes can result in both the obstructive and complex forms of the disorder, with complex sleep apnea seeing sufferers with greater problems with their breathing rhythm. Central sleep apnea on the other hand is caused by ineffective brain transmissions – instead of an obstruction blocking the individuals breathing, the brain simply stops telling the lungs to breathe. This can sometimes be the result of a stroke or heart condition. Because Obstructive Sleep Apnea is by far the most common of all the varieties of the condition, the focus for the rest of this guide shall be on that type.
There are medical conditions that can also be classed as Sleep Apnea causes. Hyperthyroidism, Acromegaly – where there is an excess of growth hormone – and Neurological diseases are some of the bigger syndromes that result in the disorder, but lesser influences like blood pressure, obesity and general hormone imbalance can also play their part.
Genetics is also an issue. There is a good chance that your disorder is not a side-effect of a condition, and you instead inherited it from your parents. Hereditary sleep apnea is common, if both your parents suffered from the condition chances are you will too. There are other genetic attributes to be aware of that can increase the risk. African-Americans, Hispanics and Pacific Islanders all have an in-built trait towards the disorder, and men are seen as being more likely to develop it than women because they automatically have narrower airways.
In fact when it comes to men and women, there are different problems putting people at risk that makes gender a separate issue of its own. Because of this genetic predisposition, men are assumed to be more at risk, and two thirds of sufferers are said to be male. This rise is numbers is due to the impact of testosterone. Testosterone is produced in greater quantities during sleep and people with low levels have been shown to suffer more readily from sleep apnea. In a related study it was shown that the chance of developing obstructive sleep apnea was twice as high in men with erectile dysfunction. Having said this there are causes of sleep apnea that are strictly female. Because of the hormone imbalances, many pregnant women or women going through the menopause can be at greater risk. This is supported by the beneficial effects of HRT in treating the disorder.
In summary, there is a good chance that your sleep apnea causes are as much the result of your genes as any other condition. If you are an Hispanic male with enlarged adenoids, you will be expected to contract sleep spnea more readily, but menopausal women are at just as much risk. There could be any number of contributing factors to your sleep apnea causes, and hopefully this guide has helped you identify them.