Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep disorder, making up 84% of sleep apnea diagnoses.1 The World Health Organisation estimates that over 100 million adults suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea worldwide.2
What causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
If you have OSA, it means your upper airway temporarily closes while you sleep, causing you to stop breathing. These periods when your breathing stops (called apnea) last for at least ten seconds and may happen up to several hundred times a night. The upper airway could become blocked due to:
Mouth and throat muscles relaxing too much during sleep
Fatty tissue of your neck narrowing the airway
Inflamed tonsils, or other temporary reasons
Structural reasons, like the shape of the nose, neck or jaw
Snoring occurs when the soft palate and other tissue in the upper airway vibrate. Although Obstructive Sleep Apnea is often diagnosed by loud snoring, not everyone who snores has OSA.
Who develops Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Both children and adults can develop Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
In children, causes of OSA are often structural, meaning that the shape of the jaw, tonsils or a large overbite will block the airway, making it difficult to breathe during sleep. Other factors can include birth defects like Down’s syndrome or even childhood obesity.
Although anyone can develop OSA, certain factors can put you at increased risk, including: