Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep condition in which a person stops breathing numerous times while sleeping. It is a major health issue that affects people of all ages, especially children. If your doctor suspects you have sleep apnea, he or she may refer you to a sleep expert who will do a sleep study to establish if you have OSA.

It is also important to recognise that some lifestyle choices and medical conditions might exacerbate apnea. Some of these health behaviours are under your control; therefore, learning what causes sleep apnea is critical.

Let’s dive in:

Obesity: Obesity can aggravate sleep apnea; therefore, it is critical to maintaining weight if you are overweight. Additional weight can cause excess tissues in and around your airway, which can be harmful as your body relaxes at sleep. Furthermore, sleep apnea can cause weight gain. If you’re having trouble losing weight, talk to your doctor about a proper diet to maintain a healthy weight.

Sleeping position: The severity of sleep apnea is also affected by your body posture while sleeping. Sleeping on your back frequently increases apnea, but sleeping on your side may reduce apnea episodes. When you lie on your back, your tongue and soft palate tend to slip back into your throat, making breathing more difficult.

Alcohol: Alcohol is another muscle relaxant that might cause complications for people with apnea. Alcohol might cause your airway to relax too much, resulting in blockage. If you have OSA, it is advisable to avoid consuming alcohol altogether.  

Prescription drugs: Some prescription medications might exacerbate your apnea. Muscle relaxants and pain relievers, particularly opioids, are the primary causes. Opioid medications are a type of medication that can cause respiratory suppression. Unfortunately, this might cause breathing issues when trying to sleep. Share your concerns with your doctor if your drugs contribute to OSA.

The ageing process: As you become older, you lose muscular tone all across your body. Like other regions of your body, your airway loses muscle as you age. A lack of muscular tone in some persons can cause apnea. Although you cannot stop ageing, it is critical to realise that you can manage your lifestyle choices. Developing new, healthy behaviours can aid in the prevention of chronic illnesses such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.

Menopause in women: When women enter menopause, they often experience a decline in hormone production. This hormone deficiency can result in several physical and mental symptoms, including hot flashes and mood swings. Aside from mood swings and hot flashes, some menopausal women develop breathing problems, including apnea. If you suffer apnea throughout menopause, speak with your doctor about coping measures.

Other chronic health disorders: Other chronic health diseases, particularly diabetes and high blood pressure, can significantly influence apnea. That is why it is vital to maintain your health daily, especially if you have apnea. Aside from producing poor sleep quality and daytime tiredness, apnea can negatively impact your heart health and blood pressure.

If you’re concerned about apnea, get in touch with Flinders Discount Chemist to get the best sleep apnea services and find the appropriate treatment plan.