What Does Sleep Apnea Cause

What Does Sleep Apnea Cause

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder viewed by many as something minor and not much to worry about. But when you look beneath the surface and ask what does sleep apnea cause, astonishing details are revealed. As a result, in the past few years, this myth has been busted. And sleep apnea has become a widely popular topic. Why? Because of what life-threatening diseases it can cause or worsen.

However, there is so much more work to be done in spreading the word. In this article, we are going to go over some of the disorders that can manifest because of sleep apnea and how ignoring the signs and symptoms can cause more harm. You will learn how to recognize these symptoms and what you can do to get treated.

Sound good? Great… Let’s get started.

Sleep Apnea and Common Disorders It Can Cause

There are over 800 sleep disorders, but sleep apnea is the one more common in the United States. And has become a significant reason for health issues. It’s been confirmed that over 22 million Americans grapple with sleep apnea every night.

About 1 out of every 12 Americans suffer and are inadvertently encouraging future healthcare complications because of sleep apnea when it’s left undiagnosed and treated. And sadly, undiagnosed sleep apnea is the truth for 80% of cases.

So how do you avoid falling victim to perpetual healthcare decline from sleep apnea? You do so, by becoming aware and following the steps to get diagnosed and then treated by a sleep study doctor such Dr. Levy of Sleep Better Columbus. After all, if you suffer from sleep apnea you want someone who can improve your quality of life quickly and make things comfortable for you.

Common Disorders Sleep Apnea Promotes

Asking what does sleep apnea cause, but the greatest minds in sleep medicine to work. It’s only when the right questions are asked that the solution of the best treatment for a problem gets solved. Here is a list of the most common diseases affiliated with sleep apnea.

  • High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
  • Chronic Heart Failure (CHF)
  • Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
  • Stroke (loss of blood flow to the brain)
  • Depression
  • Type-2 Diabetes
  • Liver Problems
  • Excessive Day Time Fatigue

As you can see, the list above is filled with serious life-threatening conditions and can cause life long consequences if discovered too late.

For example, how much would your life change if you fell asleep at the wheel? Or you drifted off to sleep as you were cooking something on the stove? These mistakes happen every single day because of sleep apnea. If you experienced either one these, how would your life be different?

Worsening Disorders

When you are already suffering from a disease or disorder like chronic heart failure obstructive sleep apnea will make it significantly worse. See when you fail to breathe as you sleep, you cause your co2 (aka) carbon monoxide to build up in your blood. As you breathe regularly moving oxygen and co2 in and out of your body you naturally retain some co2. But people who have sleep apnea have less oxygen in their blood and higher co2 levels.

This creates your blood to become thicker and also stunt the receptors in your body that tell your brain to breathe when sleeping. This causes more stress on the heart to work harder and harder, attempting to bring back homeostasis. Unfortunately without treatment of your sleep apnea, you remain in a vicious cycle of deterioration.

The only way to fix it is with help from a sleep doctor who can properly treat your individual case with the right positive pressure treatment or oral appliance treatment. It all depends on your type of sleep apnea.

This is only one case study of a worsening disorder. There are several outcomes base on the disease that sleep apnea can worsen.

Common Risk Factors To Sleep Apnea

Gender – Middle-aged and older men are more likely to acquire sleep apnea. Sleeping disorder breathing affects almost 50% of men and only 24% of women.

Note: Smoking drastically increases the risk of sleep apnea regardless of gender.

Obesity – There is a relationship between sleep apnea and obesity in around 60% of the cases that are diagnosed. Having a thicker neck because of larger fat deposits will instantly cause an increased risk of obstructing your airway.

Narrow airway – Conversely, being born with or having been in an accident that decreases your airway circumference, will also increase your risk for OSA.

Substance abuse – Using any sedatives or narcotics that impair the nervous system will increase your chances of sleep apnea, more so for CSA (Central Sleep Apnea). You must be careful when taking medications prescribed and know how your body will react.

Stroke – As we mentioned earlier, sleep apnea can cause a stroke. However, if you have already suffered from a stroke you are at a higher risk of acquiring this chronic disorder.

Having a family history – At times you will be predisposed to sleep apnea because it runs in your family. This doesn’t mean you’re destined for sleep apnea, it only means you must be vigilant in your awareness of how you are feeling. And paying attention to the symptoms of sleep apnea presents.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Knowing what sleep apnea causes is part of the puzzle when piecing together the treatment and management of sleep apnea. Knowing how to pay attention to how you feel is also important. Here are some of the most common symptoms you can look out for – in your behavior or those close to you.

  1. Snoring loudly
  2. Chronic morning headaches
  3. Waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air
  4. Holding your breath in your sleep (observed by someone else)
  5. Lack of focus while awake
  6. Irritable
  7. Insomnia (or waking up multiple times throughout the night)
  8. When you wake up you have extremely dry mouth
  9. Exhaustion throughout the day

These are some common symptoms of sleep apnea. And ones to pay attention too for signs you may need to see a sleep study specialist like Dr. Levy from Sleep Better Columbus.

In Conclusion

By now we don’t have to convince you that your sleep health is a necessity for a safe and happy life. Dr. Levy has treated hundreds of patients suffering from sleep apnea. He uses sleep study methods that help diagnose your sleep apnea is a comfortable way. Then afterward sit’s down with you and discuss your best options on treatment.

You may need an affordable state of the art CPAP device, or you may decide to use an oral appliance. You see, with the oral appliance you are fitted for a mouthpiece that can make sleep apnea treatment a breeze. Let our professional team help you with your diagnosis and treatment to ensure you live a long and healthy life.

It’s no longer hard to be diagnosed and treated. You’re not alone. Take the knowledge and the awareness of sleep apnea and make sure you avoid the mistakes so many others fail to avoid. Dr. Levy and staff at Sleep Better Columbus welcome you to call us at (614) 362-7292. The answer to the question – what does sleep apnea cause? Has been answered. The only thing left for you to do is trust us to help.

How Common is Sleep Apnea?

How Common is Sleep Apnea?

Having trouble sleeping? You may ask yourself what is wrong. Why is it that I can’t sleep through the night? If you find yourself feeling even more tired after you wake up from your rest you might be suffering from a chronic disorder call sleep apnea. How common is sleep apnea anyway?

Sleep apnea is so common most people have it and don’t even realize it. This is very dangerous because untreated sleep disorders can lead to an infinite amount of other health concerns. Some we will go over a bit later. In this article, our goal is to explain the necessities you need to know about sleep apnea. How you can recognize symptoms in yourself and others. And find the help you need in order to receive testing and treatment.

Let’s get started.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

A big mistake you can make is ignoring that you are tired throughout the day or that you snore. Sleep apnea is a chronic medical condition that prevents you from breathing during sleep. It can be caused by a blockage in the airway because of relaxed muscles in the throat. Also, a more severe case is when breathing is prevented because of a lack of communication from the brain and the central nervous system to your respiratory system to breathe.

There is one more kind of sleep apnea out of the 3 types and that that is mixed sleep apnea. This is when you suffer from a combination of Central Sleep Apnea and Obstructive sleep apnea. Mixed Sleep Apnea is the most severe of the types. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. And unfortunately the condition you may suffer from.

The Commonality of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is made up of 3 types. That includes OSA (Obstructive sleep apnea), CSA (Central sleep apnea), and Mixed (Also known as Complex sleep apnea syndrome). So how common is sleep apnea?

In the U.S between 50 million and 70 million people have some kind of sleeping disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. To be more specific between 3 and 7% of men have OSA while it’s a bit lower for women coming in between 2-5%. Sadly however this number for women is rising. As OSA is more common in middle-aged to older men, women are beginning to be recognized as suffering from this disorder.

To put this into perspective even further, there are 326 million people living in the United States. Out of that number, one out of every twelve suffers from OSA. That is 22 million people. And only a small percentage actually gets treatment, leaving the rest to harbor disease because of worsening sleep apnea symptoms without treatment (75 – 85% go undiagnosed).

More Statistics

Out of the U.S population, 10% have mild obstructive sleep apnea, around 3 ½ % have moderate sleep apnea, and around 4% suffers from severe OSA, also know as hypopnea which is the medical term for excessive shallow breathing, and lower than normal rate of breathing over a one minute period. Essentially you are failing to bring in enough oxygen while you rest causing abnormalities in your health.

Which brings us to the next area of discussion. How can you tell if you may be suffering from sleep apnea? There are symptoms that are most prevalent when involving sleep apnea.

Most Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Obstructive and Central sleep apnea have symptoms that are red flags that you need further testing in the form of a sleep study. These symptoms can be present both for OSA or CSA but your doctor will refer you for a sleep study either way.

  • Excessive day time drowsiness
  • Morning headaches after waking up
  • Waking up with large gasp for air
  • Insomnia (you don’t sleep for long, maybe a few hours a night)
  • Loud snoring (waking those in close proximity because of the noise)
  • Poor attention span and lack of focus
  • Uncomfortable dry mouth when you wake up

As you can see these are easy to spot and to notice in yourself. Now that you are aware of these common symptoms you can begin paying close attention to how you feel. These are but a small amount of symptoms so if you notice things like irritability and always needing that extra cup of coffee you might be suffering from sleep apnea. You should be able to make it through the day energetic and focused.

Some Common Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea

  • Family history
  • Being a male
  • Middle to older aged
  • Obesity
  • Nasal blockages or airway abnormalities
  • Smoking
  • Neurological disorders
  • Drug use (some narcotics will suppress the nervous system)

There are other risk factors but these are present in the common area of sleep apnea risk factors.

Treatment Options

When you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, you can there are a few ways to receive treatment. If you have central sleep apnea there are limitations to your options, since you will need a device to keep your airway open because of a neurological disconnection. But with OSA you can use a CPAP or an oral appliance offered by the office of Sleep Better Columbus.

This oral appliance is similar to a mouthpiece, that pulls your jaw forward. This eliminates the obstruction as you sleep creating a safe breathing canal that supports a normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

In Conclusion

As you can see, sleep apnea is very common. After all, with over 80% of Americans not being diagnosed it’s more common than ever. Failing to get treatment will lead to health problems like stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and more. Being referred to a sleep study doctor such as Dr. Levy from the office of Better Sleep Columbus can improve your quality of life drastically.

The one on one attention and sleep study technology will easily help diagnose your kind of sleep apnea and then you will be given the best way to treat it.

Not knowing is the worst part. But this article answered the question, how common is sleep apnea? You not only learned how common, but also how dangerous this disorder is, how to recognize its most common symptoms and where you can go for help. If you feel you are suffering from sleep apnea and want to make sure call the office of Sleep better Columbus at (614) 362-7292.

How Can I Prevent Sleep Apnea?

How Can I Prevent Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which a person stops and starts breathing several times an hour during sleep. These pauses in breathing might only last a few seconds but can last as much as several minutes. Sleep apnea makes getting a good night’s rest impossible and if left untreated can result in some very serious health issues. It is a condition that affects roughly 1 in 5 adults, so chances are that you or a loved one suffers from sleep apnea. With it being such a common condition you might be wondering: How can I prevent sleep apnea?

Risk Factors

Sleep apnea is not just a condition for overweight men who snore. It’s true that those factors do increase your risks, but sleep apnea is far less picky than that. In fact, this stereotype is perhaps one of the most prevalent misconceptions about sleep apnea. The following factors increase your risk of developing sleep apnea:

  • Genetics
  • Family
  • Lifestyle
  • Health
  • Weight


Your genes play a big role in how likely you or a loved one are to develop sleep apnea. They decide everything about you from physical traits like your hair and eye color down to how you perceive certain tastes and smells. But how do they affect your risk factors for sleep apnea?

Most people who suffer from this type of sleep-disordered breathing have what doctors call Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. With OSA breathing stops and starts because the airway has become partially or completely blocked. This blockage might occur at any point in the airway such as the sinuses, mouth, or back of the throat. Certain genetic conditions or birth defects can cause the airway to be unusually narrow. A smaller airway means it takes less for your airway to become blocked. So other factors like nasal swelling or soft palate collapse will have a greater affect on your breathing.


While many family related risk factors technically fall under the category of genetics, family factors extend beyond just your genes. Many risk factors for sleep apnea are heavily influenced by family culture. Family culture refers to the traditions, habits, and values you have as a family. Whether genetically predisposed or not, family culture affects your risk of many conditions that lead to sleep apnea. How active is your family? Do your traditions revolve around food? What is your family diet like? How does your family culture affect your sleep hygiene? Your answers to these questions may help you identify certain risk factors. If you or a loved one has sleep apnea, chances are family culture played a part.


Many lifestyle choices can increase your risk of sleep apnea in ways you might not have considered. For example, the use of alcohol, tranquilizers, or sleep aids cause the body to relax more than usual. Where this becomes problematic is when the muscles of the throat and neck relax too much. Smoking and drug use also increase your risks. Smoking causes swelling in the airway and triples your risk of sleep apnea. Opiates, especially long-acting ones like methadone, also increase your risk. 


Having certain health issues can increase your risk of developing sleep apnea. Uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke can increase your risks. These health issues are also known complications from having untreated sleep apnea. Even something as seemingly benign as seasonal allergies can increase your risk.


Weight is a well known risk factor, but did you know you don’t have to be obese to develop obstructive sleep apnea? Studies show that a body mass index (BMI) of 25 is enough to cause difficulty breathing. The average BMI of a healthy adult should fall somewhere between 18.5 and 24.9. The greater your BMI, the greater your risk.

How To Prevent Sleep Apnea

The great news is that for most people sleep apnea is highly preventable. There are a lot of things you can do to address your risk factors. By addressing these you can prevent sleep apnea in you and your loved ones.


While you have no control over your genetic risk factors, you can take steps to counteract them. Though rare, reducing some genetic risk factors may require surgery. Surgery may be indicated if you have:

  • Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  • Deviated septum
  • Enlarged turbinates
  • Nasal valve collapse
  • Underdeveloped or deformed lower jaw

It is important to note that surgical correction is rare. However, if you have one of these conditions, your doctor may recommend you for surgery.

Family Culture Shift

To prevent sleep apnea it is important to address any problematic aspects of your family culture. You can reduce your risks by working together as a family to eat healthier and be more active. You might also try establishing a consistent bedtime and bedtime routine. Studies show that irregular sleep patterns nearly double your risk of heart disease. Heart disease is a known complication and contributing factor in sleep apnea.

Lifestyle Changes

Making healthier lifestyle choices will also help you prevent sleep apnea. Smoking is an unhealthy habit to begin with. Your doctor may already be urging you to quit. There are many smoking cessation programs out there that can help. Reducing or eliminating alcohol, especially before bed, will also help to reduce your risks. You’ll also want to pay attention to your own personal sleep habits. As mentioned above your sleep schedule matters, but so do things like sleep environment and position. Making sure your room is a comfortable temperature and humidity will help. And avoid sleeping on your back. Episodes of OSA are much more common when sleeping on your back.

Follow Your Doctor’s Orders

Certain health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease all contribute to or worse sleep apnea. Reducing your risk factors for these conditions will also help you prevent sleep apnea. If you already have one of these conditions it is important to follow your doctor’s advice to keep them well controlled.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight will help you prevent sleep apnea. Pay special attention to your BMI as well and try to keep it below 25.

Seek Medical Advice

Sleep apnea is very common, and yet a surprising 80% of cases go undiagnosed. Of the 20% who do get diagnosed it usually only comes after a major health event or the insistence of their partner. Even just the short term effects of sleep apnea can have disastrous consequences. People suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea are twice as likely to be involved in a traffic accident. Left untreated it leads to many serious and life shortening health problems. If you or a loved one have concerns about developing sleep apnea please seek medical advice. Your doctor or a sleep apnea specialist, like those at Sleep Better Columbus, can help you identify and reduce your risks.

Want to prevent sleep apnea? Call Sleep Better Columbus at (614) 362-7292 for more information!

Defend your oral device against infections

Defend your oral device against infections

Sleep is a vital component of every person’s health and well-being, especially for sleep apnea patients using an oral device to get adequate sleep. We recently received questions from patients about the safeguards one can take to properly disinfect their device and how to avoid potential misuse that could damage the device. To help clarify how to use the device properly and prevent damage to the device we have put together this resource so users can wear their device every night with confidence.


  1. Should I be concerned about handling the device with my hands?
    You can insert or remove your device with your hands, but make sure to wash your hands thoroughly beforehand for at least 20 seconds. You can find the video about handwashing from CDC on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d914EnpU4Fo.
  2. Can I disinfect the device with alcohol?
    No, do not use alcohol on the device. Alcohol is a drying agent and can damage the material of your device, making it more susceptible to cracks. We also advise against putting your device in the microwave or heating it to “sterilize” it as this will only damage the device.
  3. Can I keep the device in the water?
    Whether you store your device in water or not depends on your device. Check your box for instructions. Most oral devices should be stored in a dry area that exposed to air and sunlight to prevent the growth of germs.
  4. Should I be concerned about the hygiene of the device if I left it exposed to open air?
    Washing your hands before inserting or removing your oral device, as well as properly cleaning and storing the device would prevent such contamination. According to the CDC, the virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person, either between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) or through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Click here to download a printable version of this post.

Can Sleep Apnea be Cured?

Can Sleep Apnea be Cured?

If you received a diagnosis of sleep apnea, you might wonder ‘can sleep apnea be cured?’ This form of sleep disordered breathing affects millions of adults around the world. This translates into roughly 1 in 5 adults. Sleep apnea contributes to serious, life shortening health issues and doubles your risk of heart disease. Your diagnosis might have you feeling pretty overwhelmed. But here’s the good news. Sleep apnea is easily treatable! And often can even be cured.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops and starts several times an hour during sleep. These pauses in breathing can last anywhere from 5 seconds to several minutes. In mild cases breathing might stop as few as 5-15 times an hour. In more extreme cases these pauses can occur 30 or more times an hour. These pauses in breathing cause the blood oxygen levels to drop, triggering you to wake up.

These frequent sleep disruptions cause a lot of side effects. Symptoms may include:

  • Sore or dry throat
  • Loud snoring
  • Choking or gasping during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • Mood changes, especially depression and irritability
  • Low libido

Snoring is the most easily recognized symptom but many of the others are easily missed. Many sufferers self-diagnose their symptoms as other issues. Researchers estimate that as many as 80 percent of cases go undiagnosed. The other 20 percent only seek medical advice after their apnea causes a major health event or their partner complains. 

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

There are two types of sleep apnea. With obstructive sleep apnea the airway is partially or completely blocked. This obstruction is usually due to soft palate collapse. During sleep the soft tissues of the neck and throat relax, but with OSA they relax too much and close off the airway. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common.

The other type of sleep apnea is central sleep apnea. This type is rare. With central sleep apnea breathing pauses because the brain fails to send proper signals to the body to continue breathing. Usually, this is due to some neurological defect or injury such as a serious head injury or stroke.

Can Sleep Apnea be Cured?

Yes! Many patients who have sleep apnea are able to control their symptoms or eliminate them. It is important to note that sleep apnea is a multifaceted health issue. You may need to use more than one of the methods below to cure your sleep apnea.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese is a common cause of obstructive sleep apnea. If you are overweight, your doctor will likely recommend that you lose a few pounds. This is especially important if you carry a lot of your weight around your midsection. Carrying extra weight around your middle puts strain on your heart. This strain contributes to many risk factors for sleep apnea. Extra weight around the neck and throat also make soft palate collapse more likely. Losing weight will take the strain off you of your heart, reducing your other risk factors. It will also help prevent soft palate collapse.

It is important to know that losing weight isn’t a permanent fix. You will need to keep the weight off too. Losing weight can cure your sleep apnea, but if you gain it back your symptoms may return.


This may seem like a given, considering that exercise plays a key role in weight loss. But, exercise does a lot more than just help you maintain a healthy weight. People suffering from sleep apnea often complain of fatigue and frequent sleep disturbances. Regular exercise helps to strengthen your heart and lungs, improving your blood oxygen levels. A strong circulatory system ensures your body can meet its oxygen needs. Better oxygenation of the blood means fewer symptoms. Workouts that focus on breath control are especially helpful, such as walking, running, and yoga.

Improve Sleep Habits

Some sufferers only have difficulty breathing in certain sleeping positions. Usually the position that causes the most trouble is sleeping on your back. Side-sleeping helps prevent airway blockages from occurring. There are wedges and other sleep products that help discourage back-sleeping. These products can help train you to sleep on your side, preventing soft palate collapse. This may not be effective for people with more severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleeping at an incline can also help, especially for those who struggle to sleep on their side. Raising your head about 60 degrees during sleep will reduce symptoms. This is because it shifts your abdominal weight down away from your chest and neck. This makes breathing easier but also helps to prevent soft palate collapse. You can achieve this with a wedge, body pillows, sleeping in a recliner, or raising the head of your bed.

Lifestyle Changes

Healthy lifestyle changes will help to reduce your weight and other risk factors. But there are other lifestyle changes that can help cure your sleep apnea.

  • Quit Smoking – Smoking causes swelling in the upper airways, making them narrower. A narrower airway is more prone to collapse or obstruction. Quitting will reduce this swelling.
  • Avoid Alcohol – Drinking alcohol, especially before bed, relaxes the muscles of the throat. This increases the likelihood of snoring and airway collapse.
  • Allergy Medications – Nasal decongestants like allergy medications can help reduce swelling in the airways, improving airflow.
  • Use a Humidifier – Dry air can irritate your airway, causing swelling. A good humidifier will reduce this irritation and swelling.

Sleep Apnea Therapy

Sleep apnea therapy consists of using devices such as a CPAP or oral device. A CPAP uses positive air pressure to keep the airway from collapsing during sleep. This is the go-to treatment option prescribed by most doctors. It is an effective treatment and works for many patients.

An alternative to the traditional CPAP is the oral appliance. Oral appliances fit much like a sports mouthguard. An oral appliance shifts the lower jaw forward to prevent soft palate collapse. Because it fits inside the mouth an oral appliance is much more comfortable and less restrictive than a CPAP. Many patients find that they have greater success complying with their prescribed therapy. Better compliance means better sleep. With a custom fit oral appliance, like the ones available through Sleep Better Columbus, you can be certain you’ll have a comfortable fit.

Seek Medical Advice

The methods mentioned above are easy to implement. However, sleep apnea is a serious condition. You should consult with your doctor before making any changes to your prescribed therapy. Many of the symptoms of sleep apnea are easy to miss. Without proper monitoring your condition may not be as well controlled as you think. It is important to follow up with your doctor to ensure your condition continues to improve.

Can sleep apnea be cured? Call Sleep Better Columbus at (614) 362-7292 for information.

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