Causes of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing is laborious or stops multiple times each night—five or more times each hour—robbing your brain and body of oxygen. Sleep apnea can leave you feeling tired, even after seven or more hours of sleep. Over time, sleep apnea can cause or exacerbate other health conditions, like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack.

Your Airways during Sleep

Sleep apnea is caused by the collapse of your airways. When you sleep, your body—including the tissues in your mouth and throat—naturally relaxes, and your brain enters a different mode to control breathing.

So, what causes your airways to collapse? For people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), there is no one easily identifiable cause but a number of risk factors that make sleep apnea more likely.

Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea


Obstructive sleep apnea is common for people who:

  • Are overweight (obese)
  • Have a large neck
  • Have a narrow chin and/or cheekbones
  • Have had damaged to the neck and/or throat
  • Have high blood pressure
  • STOP – BANG scoring model

Family history may also increase your risk for sleep apnea.

How to Get a Better Night’s Rest

While there is no cure, there is effective sleep apnea treatment that can help you feel better and reduce the health risks associated with sleep apnea. The first step is to get a diagnostic sleep study.

Neurology & Sleep Medicine in Albuquerque, New Mexico provides a better level of care for your sleep problems. You meet with our board-certified sleep specialist, Dr. Senthil Ramasamy, for your initial consultation and again after his evaluation of your sleep study. He will prescribe the treatment that works best to give you restful sleep night after night. Contact us to schedule your initial consultation today.

Learn more about the causes of sleep apnea and get treatment at Neurology & Sleep Medicine. Call us to schedule an initial consultation today.

Sleep: The Foundation of Your Health—We Can Strengthen It.


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