- Treating the Underlying Causes of Sleep Apnea
- Diseases that Cause Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Epstein-Barr Virus
- Infectious Mononucleosis
- Craniofacial Syndromes
- Cleft Palate/Lip
- Diseases that Cause Central Sleep Apnea
- Brainstem Damage
- Neurodegenerative Diseases
- Other Diseases:
Treating the Underlying Causes of Sleep Apnea
Many Sleep Apnea patients suffer from the sleeping disorder as a result of an underlying medical issue. If the foundational problem causing breathing to stop during sleep is not identified and treated, then the apnea episodes cannot be expected to stop. Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea, while alike, can each be caused by vary different diseases. People suffer from preexisting diseases are at a much higher risk of developing the unfortunate, dangerous respiratory disorder.
Diseases that Cause Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Although Obstructive Sleep Apnea is most often caused by decreased muscle tone and control in the upper respiratory system, underlying diseases may be the root cause of your Sleep Apnea case.
One-third of all people diagnosed with hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, are also diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. The chances of developing Sleep Apnea are even higher in hypertension patients who take medications to control their cardio condition. In addition to hypertension being a serious risk factor for developing Sleep Apnea, it is also incredibly possible for Sleep Apnea to cause hypertension. The connection between the heart and sleep can turn into a vicious cycle of damage if the underlying high blood pressure is not treated effectively.
Ischemic Heart Disease
Ischemic Heart Disease is also referred to as Ischaemic Heart Disease and Myocardial Ischaemia; the disease is characterized by ischaemia of the heart muscle. Ischaemia of the heart muscle occurs when the heart is pumping a severely reduced blood supply to the rest of the body.
The human herpesvirus, the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), is one of the most common viruses found in the human population. The EBV is a member of the herpes family and is most famous for causing infectious mononucleosis, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Burkitt’s lymphoma, central nervous system lymphomas, and even Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. Although symptoms of EBV may disappear rather quickly, the virus will remain dormant at a cellular level in the patient’s blood and throat for their entire lives. Sporadically, the virus may become reactivated; it can then be spread again. Some cells in the body’s immune system also store the dormant virus; these patient’s sometimes see rare forms of cancer later in their lives.
Dubbed “the kissing disease”, infectious mononucleosis is a widespread viral disease that is most commonly transferred through oral transmission. The symptoms of mononucleosis, also called “mono”, will fade on their own with time, but the virus can cause extreme weakness and fatigue for months. Mono causes swelling in the spleen resulting in intense pain in the left portion of the upper belly. Problems with the spleen can become serious very quickly, and, if left untreated, they could potentially lead to the rupturing of the spleen.
Craniofacial syndromes are physical abnormalities in the structure of the skull and face. These abnormalities are a result of poor fusion of the bones in the skull during the patient’s infancy. The bones did not come together in the right manner or at the time. Craniofacial syndromes are classified as Craniosynostosis or Craniostenosis. While they are dangerous conditions as they can change the shape and functioning ability of the upper airways, craniofacial syndromes are not always associated with neurological disorders or developmental problems. In Sleep Apnea patients, however, it is common to find Craniostenosis that is linked to neurological problems. Many patients who suffer from Down Syndrome, Treacher Collins Syndrome, and Pierre Robin Sequence also suffer from sleeping disorders like Sleep Apnea.
Children born with a cleft lip/palate are at a higher risk of developing Sleep Apnea by affecting the shape and structure of the face, and causing problems with muscles controlling eating, breathing, and speech. A cleft lip consists of a notch in the lip. The lip may have a small notch, a notch that completely splits the lip, or even a notch that reaches the base of the nose. A cleft palate is a notch that appears on the roof of the mouth; it can occur on either side of the mouth, as well as both sides.
Diseases that Cause Central Sleep Apnea
The brainstem regulates breathing in human beings, and damage to the brainstem is one of the most common causes of Central Sleep Apnea. If the brainstem is damaged, in any way, its functioning can become compromised; cessation of breathing can occur without notice, even during waking hours. Damage to the brainstem may occur through injury or disease. Strokes, tumors, and trauma are the most common causes of brain stem damage.
Most commonly caused by viral infections, Encephalitis is the irritation and inflammation, or swelling, of the brain. Encephalitis is an extremely rare condition and is generally seen in infants younger than a year old; the extremely young, as well as the elderly, are at a heightened risk of developing Encephalitis. When the brain becomes irritated, the tissues of the brain begin to swell. The swelling of brain tissue may cause bleeding in the brain, nerve cell destruction, and even brain damage that can affect the body’s ability to breathe. Brain damage caused by Encephalitis may cause problems with speech and muscle control.
Caused by the Polio virus, Poliomyelitis is a serious infectious disease that causes motor paralysis, atrophy of the muscles surrounding the skeleton, inflammation of nerve cells in spinal cord, and even permanent deformity or disability. Poliomyelitis causes nerve inflammation in each lateral half of the spinal cord; this type of spinal inflammation is known as infantile paralysis.
Neurodegenerative Diseases are classified as genetic and sporadic disorders caused by the progressive dysfunction of the nervous system. In patients with neurodegenerative disorders, the nervous system’s central and peripheral structures are negatively affected. Neurodegenerative diseases that can cause Sleep Apnea include, but are not limited to: Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease, Brain Cancer, Epilepsy, degenerative nerve diseases, Hydrocephalus, Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Prion Diseases, and Huntington’s Disease.
- Multiple System Atrophy or Shy-Dragger Syndrome
- Familial Dysautonomia
- Postpolio Syndrome
- Arnold-Chiari Malformation Types I-III
- Medullary Respiratory Damage Cause by Infarction, Infection, or tumor
- Prader-Willi Syndrome
- Cervical Cordotomy
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Idiopathic Cardiomyopathy
- Muscular Distrophy
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Cervical Spine Damage
- Bulbar Poliomyelitis