Obstructive sleep apnea (interrupted breathing when you sleep) can cause snoring, daytime sleepiness, attention problems, forgetfulness, irritability, or abrupt awakenings accompanied by shortness of breath. If left untreated, this condition can cause more serious problems like heart failure, diabetes, or stroke. Your dentist can help treat sleep apnea, but learn some more about what causes sleep apnea and some of the factors that put you at risk for developing it.
When the throat muscles relax as you sleep, they no longer support the soft tissues in the back of your throat (which include the soft palate, uvula, and tonsils). These tissues collapse and can obstruct the airway, causing sleep apnea.
There are several factors which increase your risk for getting this condition, some which can be controlled while others can’t.