ALBUQUERQUE CRANIOFACIAL CENTER, LTD.
7520 MONTGOMERY NE BLDG. D, SUITE 2 ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87109

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

The exact cause of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) still remains unclear. In most patients, the site of the obstruction is behind the soft palate, extending to the region at the base of the tongue. During the day, while a person is awake, muscles in the area keep the passage open, but as a person falls asleep, these muscles relax, sometimes causing the airway to collapse.

Once the airway closes, breathing stops, and the person briefly and unknowingly awakens causing the airway to open. These microarousals are a protective response that the body has when it senses the threat of a closed airway, since breathing is the body's top priority. Unfortunately, they also prevent a person from reaching the deeper slow-wave sleep we require for the body to feel rested and refreshed.

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