apnea happens when enough air cannot move into your lungs
while you are sleeping. When you are awake, and normally
during sleep, your throat muscles keep your throat open and
air flows into your lungs. In obstructive sleep apnea,
however, the throat briefly collapses, causing pauses in
With pauses in breathing, the oxygen level
in your blood may drop. This happens if the following
Your throat muscles and tongue relax more than is normal.
Your tonsils and adenoids are large.
You are overweight. The extra soft tissue in your throat
makes it harder to keep the throat area open.
The shape of your head and neck (bony structure) results in
somewhat smaller airway size in the mouth and throat area.
With the throat frequently fully or partly blocked during
sleep, enough air cannot flow into your lungs, even though
your efforts to breathe continue. Your breathing may become
hard and noisy and may even stop for short periods of time (apneas).
Central apnea is a rare type of sleep apnea that happens
when the area of your brain that controls your breathing
doesn’t send the correct signals to the breathing muscles.
Then there is no effort to breathe at all for brief periods.
Snoring does not typically occur in central apnea.
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