Sleep Apnea (cont.)
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Obstructive sleep apnea usually occurs when the throat muscles and tongue relax during sleep and partially or completely block the airway. When you stop breathing or have reduced flow of air into your lungs during sleep, the amount of oxygen in your blood decreases briefly.
See pictures of normal and blocked airways during sleep.
Bone deformities, enlarged tissues
Obstructive sleep apnea can also occur if you have bone deformities or enlarged tissues in your nose, mouth, or throat. For example, you may have enlarged tonsils. During the day when you are awake and standing up, this may not cause problems. But when you lie down at night, the tonsils can press down on your airway, narrowing it and causing sleep apnea.
In children, the main cause of sleep apnea is large tonsils or adenoids.
Other things that may contribute to sleep apnea include:
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