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Houston Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery

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What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea This article takes you through what causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The breathing associated sleep disorder – OSA was first described in 1965. One out of every 5 adults and 5 to 10 out of every 100 children in the US are affected by the problem. When people fall asleep, their body muscles including those that assist in keeping the airway open and permit air to enter the lungs, relax. Normally, at this time, the upper throat would still be sufficiently open to let air continue to flow through. However, in people with OSA, the throat area actually becomes narrow or even closes when they inhale, causing a temporary halting of breathing (usually 10 seconds). This would happen repeatedly in the night causing them to repeatedly awaken without even being aware of it. The snoring in OSA sufferers is actually because of the air trying to get through the blocked or narrow airway. Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Causes and Risk Factors Given below are some of the possible causes for OSA to develop: •

Obesity – This can cause too much soft tissue in the area of the airway, blocking it when the person is asleep

• Micrognathia • Retrognathia •

Acromegaly (over secretion of the growth hormone)

• Collar/neck size of 16 or more inches in women and 17 or more inches in men) • Round head Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Houston Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery

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• Narrow throat • Brain injury •

Pierre-Robin syndrome, Down syndrome or other birth defects that result in an enlarged jaw or tongue

• Big overbite • Growth/tumor in the airway • A deviated septum that can lead to upper airway congestion • Neuromuscular disorders affecting the airway muscles • Reduced muscle tone because of a neurological disorder, drugs or alcohol • Use of sedatives • Smoking Risk Factors A yes answer to any of the following increases the chances of developing Obstructive Sleep Apnea: •

Are male – males have a higher chance of developing the disorder than females

• If a woman, have attained menopause or are pregnant • Are above 40 years of age • Have diabetes • Are a Pacific Islander, Hispanic or African American • Belong to the family of someone who has the condition • Regularly have nasal congestion issues Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Houston Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery

Call: 713-791-0700

• Are hypertensive • Have had pharyngeal flap surgery done – OSA is a potential complication of this surgery Surgery More Convenient than CPAP Treatment If a person is found to have OSA, the next step is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment. The most common treatment meted out to OSA sufferers is use of a nasal CPAP machine. This machine prevents collapse of the airway when the person breathes in by increasing air pressure in his throat. However, a lot of users don’t use the machine as often as they should and find it difficult to comply with it. Surgical treatment of the condition is a better option. To ensure that you get the best results from the plastic surgery, ensure that you go to a plastic surgeon who has prior experience in performing the procedure successfully not once but many times. Don’t Delay Treatment Whatever the causes of obstructive sleep apnea and whatever the symptoms a particular sufferer has, delaying treatment is not advisable. The disorder is known to cause daytime sleepiness that can impair your work and cause depression and road accidents, and a number of deadly health problems such as high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. So, if you suspect your spouse or a friend has this condition, help them get treated at the earliest.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Houston Plastic and Craniofacial Surgery

Call: 713-791-0700

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Obstructive Sleep Apnea


What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea