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Sleep Apnea: Causes & Cures

Dealing with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) requires an understanding of the causes, symptoms and potential cures. But while diagnosis is relatively straightforward after one sleep study, getting patients to comply with their treatment regimen often proves difficult.

Numerous factors contribute to the development of OSA, including gender, weight, age and race. All relate to the probability of the airway collapsing while horizontal, which interferes with breathing. Men are more likely to develop OSA than women, in part because estrogen helps keep palate muscles strong. After menopause, women’s risk increases. In fact, the risk for both sexes increases with age, since people over 60 are more susceptible to weight gain and loss of muscle tone. Being overweight—at any age—can cause wider necks, recessed chins and...

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