Sleep disorders can be some of the most debilitating health issues out there. While they may not sound serious, their effects can take a major toll on the sufferer's health. Most sleep disorders lead to sleep deprivation, which can quickly compound into much more serious issues. One of the most common sleep disorders for adults in the U.S. is obstructive sleep apnea. This disorder occurs when the soft tissue of the throat or tongue obstructs the upper airways. This causes the sufferer to partially awaken many times during the night to correct his or her restricted airflow. Sleep apnea can lead to loss of sleep as well as lowered oxygen in the bloodstream. Some of the most common symptoms are excessive and disruptive snoring as well as frequent pauses in breathing during sleep. Other signs include frequent daytime exhaustion, headaches and mood swings that develop due to sleep deprivation. But what causes obstrucive sleep apnea in children and adults?
Obstructive sleep apnea can have several different causes. The most common cause for sleep apnea amongst adults is obesity. Excess weight can cause fatty tissue to build up in the throat and near the tongue. This makes it more likely that, when the throat and tongue relax during sleep, the sleeper's airways become blocked. Other anatomical features can make obstructive sleep apnea more likely. These include a rounded head, thick neck and narrow throat. Several other factors can come into play with this condition in adults. Some of these include hypothyroidism, excessive production of a growth hormone, allergies and a deviated septum. Sedatives, smoking and alcohol use can also play a role in obstructive sleep apnea.
Children can also develop obstructive sleep apnea. However, they usually present this disorder for different reasons than adults. Most children who develop sleep apnea have another preexisting condition such as enlarged tonsils or an overbite. Sometimes tumors and birth defects can also cause obstructive sleep apnea in children. Some of these birth defects include Down syndrome and Pierre-Robin syndrome.
No matter what the cause for obstructive sleep apnea, it is a disorder that should not be taken lightly. Effects can include very serious health problems. Be sure to consult your healthcare professional with any concerns about obstructive sleep apnea. For improved sleep outside of sleep apnea, be sure to try Cool-jams™ temperature-regulating bedding and pajamas.