Sleep Apnea


Not a Good Night

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing stops and starts. Loud snoring and daytime tiredness are signs that you may have sleep apnea. There are different types.

Different Causes

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax. Since they support the soft palate, uvula, tonsils and sides of your throat and tongue, when they relax, these tissues tend to push inward and occlude the airway. Excess weight increases the risk for sleep apnea. When fat deposits around the upper airway, breathing can be obstructed. A large neck measurement may mean that you are more inclined to have sleep apnea due to this fat hidden around the upper airway. Occasionally a narrow airway is inherited and sometimes swollen tonsils or adenoids can block the airway. Children are particularly prone to obstruction due to swollen tonsils and adenoids. Men are more likely than women to have obstructive sleep apnea but women’s risk rises if they become overweight. Aging also raises the likelihood of having this type of sleep apnea. Alcohol, tranquilizers and other sedating drugs also increase the risk due to the relaxation of the muscles in the throat. Smoking increases your risk three times greater than that for someone who has never smoked due to the inflammation that is caused by smoking. If you have nasal congestion you are also more prone to have obstructive sleep apnea.

Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain simply does not send the proper signals to breath.

It is also possible to have a combination of both of these types of sleep apnea which is called complex sleep apnea.


The symptoms of these different types tend to overlap. In order to know what type you have, it’s necessary to see your doctor for testing. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring, episodes of stopping breathing, gasping during sleep, awakening with a dry mouth, morning headache, difficulty staying asleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, attention problems and irritability.


High blood pressure and heart problems can be caused by sudden drops in blood oxygen levels brought on by sleep apnea. Stroke and atrial fibrillation can also be associated with this disorder. If you have heart disease, this disorder can lead to sudden death from irregular heartbeat. (1) Sleep apnea also raises your risk for Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and complications with medications and surgery. Strangely enough, your sleep apnea can also affect the health of your partner who sleeps with you becsuse your loud snoring may prevent them from getting adequate sleep. I have known more than one person who slept with a snorer and went without sleep until they developed serious health problems of their own.

Incentive to Lose the Fat!

The list of health problems caused by overweight and obesity is almost endless. Some of those disorders are more serious than others. This particular one is deadly. While central sleep apnea is not weight related, obstructive and complex sleep apnea are usually related to the amount of fat on your body. This is just one more reason to create a new, healthy lifestyle that is based on good health with a good body fat percentage. Always consult your medical doctor before beginning any weight loss program. With his permission, you can go to our Calorie Counter Pro and discover how many calories you need to eat to lose 1 or 2 pounds per week. We always suggest shooting for 1 pound per week. It’s easier and healthier to lose slowly and you are more likely to stick with your program. Losing slowly enables you to create a new lifestyle rather than just trying to “get it over with”. You won’t “get it over with”. These new behaviors should become a part of your daily habits and help you finally master the balance that creates a healthy lifestyle.

Extra Issues

See your doctor today if you think that you may have this deadly disorder. Poor sleep quality has the ability to affect every area of our lives in a negative way. Our job performance is impacted. Our relationships can suffer. Driving skills are impaired and academic pursuits can be difficult without a good night’s sleep. When we deceive ourselves that we are “getting away with” the excess fat that can contribute to obstructive or complex sleep apnea, we are setting ourselves up for destruction. Rationalization will not change reality. What we say we believe to be true does not change the truth. As my Grandmother often said, “The Truth will stand when the world’s on fire.” Embrace reality and start getting healthy today.


One Comment Add yours

  1. To add to your excellent post, Brenda Sue, C-PAP machines, prescribed by pulmonologists, send surges of oxygen into a sleeping person’s nose and open blocked airways, thus eliminating sleep apnea. A mask that one has to wear every night is a very small inconvenience, considering the risks.

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