About Sleep Apnea
There are two main types of sleep apnea: central sleep apnea and obstructive sleep apnea.
Central sleep apnea is less common and occurs when your brain sends incorrect signals to the muscles that control your breathing.
Obstructive sleep apnea is more common and happens when your airway collapses or becomes partially blocked when you sleep.
Obstructive sleep apnea may occur when your tongue or other soft tissues fall back and block your airway. The obstruction causes pauses in your breathing or shallow breathing as you sleep. Partial obstruction causes tissues to vibrate as you breathe, resulting in snoring.
Some people are at higher risk for sleep apnea than others. Obesity, a large tongue, a small upper jawbone, a small lower jawbone, a thick neck or a deviated septum increase your risk for developing sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea puts you at higher risk for daytime fatigue and sleepiness, which can cause you to fall asleep at work, while watching TV or even while driving a car. Sudden drops in oxygen during paused breathing can increase your blood pressure and strain your heart, which can cause coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, abnormal heart rhythms and stroke.