When a person suffers from sleep apnea they experience frequent pauses in breathing during sleep. The following are a few of the reasons people experience this common condition.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
The most common form of sleep apnea is OSA or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. OSA is caused by a collapse of the upper airway which makes it difficult to get air into the lungs. This type of sleep apnea is most common in people who are overweight, particularly if they sleep on their backs, and in men more often than in women.
Usually some kind of abnormality in the lower face, such as an unusually small chin, an overbite, or a large tongue is the cause of obstructive sleep apnea in people of normal weight.
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
Much more rare than OSA is Central Sleep Apnea (CSA). Central sleep apnea happens when the brain does not send normal signals to the chest to breathe properly while the sufferer is trying to sleep. The causes of central sleep apnea are typically severe heart disease or neurologic disease (that is, a disease of the brain), although certain medications, particularly strong pain medications like morphine and other narcotics, are also known to cause CSA.
Mixed Sleep Apnea (MSA)
Mixed sleep apnea (MSA) is a combination of the first two types. Mixed sleep apnea generally begins as central sleep apnea, and then gradually develops into obstructive sleep apnea over time.