Causes of Sleep Apnea

If there is snoring, then the sleep apnea is likely to be related to an obstruction or an anatomical abnormality causing airway blockage. Without snoring, causes related to neurological disorders are more likely, or it may also be idiopathic sleep apnea.

Airway Blockages: Causes of sleep apnea include:

Nasopharyngeal Abnormality: Various anatomical abnormalities of the oral region may cause sleep apnea:

  • Deviated nasal septum (nasal structure abnormality)
  • Cleft palate
  • Abnormal large tongue (e.g. Down Syndrome)

Neurological Disorders: Disorders of the brain or CNS may affect the body’s breathing controls, causing apnea during sleep (even without any airway obstructions), which is called “central sleep apnea”:

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.