Sleep Apnea: What it is, causes, and treatments.

Problems with sleep apnea can include insomnia, morning headaches and snoring.

Sleep Apnea isn't just causing sleepless nights.

A good night's sleep is critical to our health. Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea each night. It not only affects your sleep, but it also can affect your daily life and cause more serious health complications. It may even be keeping your partner up at night which can lead to strains in your relationship. If you think you suffer from sleep apnea we can work with you to determine the best treatment plan. Schedule Now

Sleep Apnea: What is it?

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes abnormal breathing patterns while asleep. Most of the time this causes the sufferer to stop breathing occasionally in their sleep. This leads to headaches, fatigue, and a reduction in mental function. It may also lead to more serious conditions like high blood pressure or high risk for stroke or heart attack.

There are three different types of sleep apnea. They are determined by the cause of the sleep disruption.

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea(OSA) - OSA occurs when there is a blockage at the back of the throat and it is the most common form.
  • Central Sleep Apnea(CSA) - When there is a disruption of the brain signals that control the respiratory muscles it can lead to shallow and inefficient breathing.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea - Mixed sleep apnea is when someone suffers from both obstructive and central sleep apnea. This form is more complex and requires close attention.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

  • Breathing becomes paused or difficult while sleeping
  • Daytime fatigue becomes commonplace
  • Constantly waking up with headaches
  • Making several trips to the bathroom each night
  • Sex drive reduction
  • Focusing at work or while doing daily tasks becomes too difficult
  • Mood swings and problems regulating your mood
  • Loud snoring that may sound like gasps, snorts, or choking
  • Breathing with an open mouth can cause dry mouth and sore throat

Usually, the people who are suffering from sleep apnea do not realize their sleep is being interrupted. It is usually a spouse who first notices the symptoms after being woken up due to the snoring. My loved one is keeping me up all night! Schedule Today

Sleep apnea causes other health complications

Sleep apnea is already a serious condition by itself but it can cause other serious health issues. When it is treated early these other health conditions can be minimized or avoided. Other conditions associated with sleep apnea include:

  • Cardiovascular conditions - Leading to increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.
  • Irregular heartbeat - Conditions such as AFib can be caused by sleep apnea.
  • Asthma - Asthma correlates with sleep apnea
  • Cancer - Cancer is not directly caused by sleep apnea but there is a correlation between them. 
  • Eye Disorders - The lack of oxygen caused by sleep apnea increases the chances of eye conditions like glaucoma.
  • Diabetes - There is a correlation between diabetes and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea makes managing diabetes more difficult.
  • Pregnancy complications - Women who are pregnant and have sleep apnea may have increased complications during pregnancy.
  • Increased risk for accidents - Being fatigued and sleepy can result in vehicle or workplace accidents
  • Poor concentration ability - Sleep apnea can lead to a decrease in the ability to concentrate or process thoughts. This may also lead to an increased chance of memory loss and dementia. Children who suffer from sleep disorders have decreased performance in school.

Sleep apnea causes

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Causes

Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by blockages in the back of the throat. The blockage can be caused by a few different things including:

  • Relaxed throat and tongue muscles
  • Relaxed soft palate and uvula
  • Obesity resulting in excess tissues that will narrow the air passages

Breathing muscles work to produce normal breath but some things can cause increased relaxation around the airways during sleep. Some of these include:

  • Sedatives
  • Alcohol
  • Cigarettes
  • Congestion
  • Sleeping on your back
  • Family history
  • An imbalance in your hormones

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea is less common than OSA. It is caused by a lapse in the brain signals that control the respiratory muscles. It is usually a result of a neurological condition like:

  • Brain infection
  • Brain tumor
  • Stroke
  • Opioids may also interfere with brain function

Diagnosing sleep apnea

Diagnosing sleep apnea can be difficult since there are multiple types and it should always be diagnosed by a professional. We can work with you closely to make sure that we get the right diagnoses and create a treatment plan unique to you. 

Sleep apnea treatment

Your treatment plan, like your diagnosis, will be unique to you. There may even be multiple parts to your treatment plan, including:

Lifestyle enhancements/Natural remedies for sleep apnea

A lifestyle change is one of the best ways to control sleep apnea. These natural remedies work and can result in better health overall.

  • Weight loss
  • Limiting alcohol and sedatives
  • Sleep on your side or use a pillow to help posture
  • Quitting smoking

Sleep apnea machines

Using breathing machines like a CPAP or BiPAP helps push air into your airway so that you can maintain a normal level of breathing throughout the night. Breathing machines are very effective and can help reduce the complications of sleep apnea.


Surgery is not the first solution but it may be suggested if the cause of your sleep apnea is related to an abnormality. 

Breathe Easy Again!

At Scottsdale ENT we can help you sleep and breathe easy again. We will help to determine what is causing your issues and which treatment plan is best for your condition! Schedule today to breathe easy again. Stop suffering from sleep apnea. Schedule now.

Request an AppointmentCall Today: 480-994-0308