Sleep Apnea

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

To successfully treat and prevent recurrence of sleep apnea we need to understand and — if possible — remove the underlying causes and risk factors.  We need to ask: "What else is going on inside the body that might allow sleep apnea to develop?"

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Accurate diagnosis of the factors behind sleep apnea consists of three steps:

Step 1: List the Possible Causative Factors

Identify all disease conditions, lifestyle choices and environmental risk factors that can lead to sleep apnea.  Here are two possibilities:
  • Hypothyroidism
  • A Weight Problem

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

Identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
yellow/yellowish fingernails
unexplained sadness/crying
having high percentage body fat
regular postprandial somnolence
hypothyroidism in family members
poor recovery from exertion
slowed pulse rate
brittle hair
having low-normal TT4 level
probable miscarriage
slow reaction time
often/always feeling unusually cold
... and more than 40 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of sleep apnea:
Cause Probability Status
Hypothyroidism 91% Confirm
A Weight Problem 63% Possible
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate sleeping-related problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you have Sleep Apnea (periods of at least 10 seconds where you stop breathing while asleep)? If you sleep with a partner, you may want to ask them.
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ No, definitely not
→ In the past only
→ Minor problem
→ Major problem
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate no sleep apnea, history of sleep apnea or sleep apnea, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can present itself as obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.

Concerned or curious about your health?  Try The Analyst™
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