Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Causes, symptoms and relation with obesity

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Causes, symptoms and relation with obesity

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. It occurs when individual repeatedly stop and start breathing during sleep. Let us understand obstructive sleep apnea, causes, symptoms and relation with obesity.

It can lead to serious health complications like heart disease, obesity and depression. Menopausal and postmenopausal women have high risk of sleep apnea.

What happen in Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

During sleep when throat muscles get relax at regular interval and block the upper airways. It leads to diaphragm and chest muscles work harder to open the obstructed airway and pull air into the lungs. A noticeable sigh appear snoring. The condition can also reduce the flow of oxygen to other organs and cause irregular heart rhythms.

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Causes of sleep apnea

There are many factors which are listed here

Muscular changes

During sleep muscles which keep the airway open may get relax, leads to narrowing of the airway. This relaxation of muscle does not prevent the flow of air in and out of the lungs.

Physical obstructions

The blockage of the airflow due to thickening and fat deposition in the airways leads to snoring typically associated with sleep apnea.

Brain function

In central sleep apnea (CSA) is the less common form of sleep apnea. It is because of medical condition such as stroke or heart failure, recent ascent to high altitude or the use of pain relief medication.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Excessive daytime sleepiness

Loud snoring

Breathing cessation during sleep

Abrupt awakenings in night and gasping or choking

Awakening with a dry mouth or sore throat

Morning headache

Difficulty concentrating during the day

Experiencing mood changes, such as depression or irritability

High blood pressure

Night-time sweating

Decreased libido

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and obesity

In infants obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk of obesity and tonsils. Children of age 4 also affected.  Diabetes in young age children is due to obesity and tonsils at young age.

Sleep apnea cause inadequate sleep. Not getting proper and complete sleep disturbs emotional health and can cause drowsiness, concentration loss, and stress in short-term and hypertension, cardiac disorders and sudden death in the long term.

Risk factors for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obesity/ overweight

Overweight people are more affected with obstructive sleep apnea. It is not always possible. Fat deposition around the upper airway may obstruct breathing.

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Some people has inherited narrow airways. Or enlarge adenoids and tonsils may block the airway.

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Obstructive sleep apnea is very common in people with hypertension.

Chronic nasal congestion

Chronic nasal congestion cause narrow airways. Which is a cause factor for sleep apnea.


People who smoke are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea.


Obstructive sleep apnea may be more common in diabetic patients.

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