Jan 12, 2024
misc image



Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes pauses in breathing or shallow, frequent breathing throughout the night. These pauses, called apneas, can last from a few seconds to minutes at a time during sleep. People with sleep apnea may experience excessive daytime drowsiness and fatigue because they can’t get enough oxygen and are unable to get their eight hours of restful sleep.


Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Respiratory obstruction is the most common form of sleep apnea. The airway becomes blocked during sleep because the tongue, throat, or jaw muscle relaxes during sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea

This occurs when your body does not realize CO2 is building up in your blood and it “forgets” to breathe. It is quite common at higher altitudes.


Narrowed Airway

You might inherit naturally narrow airways because of a slight deviation in your septum, the wall of cartilage that divides your nostrils. Another cause is when your tonsils or adenoids become enlarged and block your airway; this can happen due to various illnesses like tonsilitis or the flu.

Chronic Nasal Congestion

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs twice as often in those who have consistent nasal congestion at night, regardless of the cause. This may be due to narrowed airways.

Being Overweight

Many people with obstructive sleep apnea are overweight. Studies have shown that being overweight is the leading cause of sleep apnea. The extra weight from increased body fat compresses your chest and abdomen, making it more difficult for your lungs to expand as you breathe. Being overweight can also relax the tissues in your throat and mouth, making it harder for air to pass through freely.


Smoking is also a significant risk factor for sleep apnea and has been linked to nearly one-third of adult cases. The harmful effects of tobacco can include high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. All these conditions put more pressure on your chest muscles, causing them to relax too much during sleep. The result is the same as being overweight: airway obstruction when you breathe.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for sleep apnea and has been linked to up to 50 percent of untreated cases of obstructive sleep apnea in adults. The heart muscle can relax during sleep, decreasing the amount of blood flowing to the lungs. Sleep apnea is also more common in people with hypertension and those who take medications that lower blood pressure.


1. Fatigue

Sleep apnea can cause fatigue during the day because this condition prevents you from getting quality sleep. In addition, sleep apnea often causes daytime drowsiness and poor concentration, making it difficult to stay awake and alert throughout the day.

2. Dizziness

Sleep apnea can also lead to dizziness and lightheadedness at night or during the day. Dizziness can also be attributed to the fatigue caused by sleep apnea.

3. High Blood Pressure

The stress of sleep apnea can also cause high blood pressure. When you wake up from a breathing episode, your body naturally tries to move oxygen-rich blood from your heart and lungs to your muscles so you have more energy when you’re awake. Over time, this natural reaction increases your risk of developing high blood pressure.

4. Stroke

Sleep apnea can cause blood vessels in the brain to become enlarged and dilated, which can result in a stroke. Sleep apnea can also increase your risk for heart disease, increasing your likelihood of stroke.


Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disorder that affects millions of people. It can cause daytime drowsiness and fatigue, so if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea or feel like it, make sure you get treatment. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Steven Wilk at Denver Sleep Apnea Center in Denver, CO, for CPAP therapy and other treatments.