Apnea Deviated Septum: The Linkage between Sleep Apnea and Deviated Septum

Source: www.nycfacemd.com
Source: www.nycfacemd.com

For the sufferer of sleep apnea, going to sleep can be a short visit to hell and back. It is a chronic medical condition where the victim repeatedly stops breathing during sleep. Such stop-breathing episodes could last for 10 seconds or more and can recur hundreds of times during the night. Obviously, these frequent drops in the levels of oxygen in the blood cause serious sleep disruption and many health issues.

There are several causes of sleep apnea to happen and, interestingly…
deviated septum is one of them. Considering that deviated septum is a fairly common phenomena amongst the population in this country, chances are that you could be suffering from apnea deviated septum.

What is deviated septum and what causes this condition?

A “septum” is a thin line of bone and cartilage located in the center of your nose. It should ideally be right at the center, dividing the two nostrils in two equal halves.

However, due to an anatomical defect caused at birth or due to a subsequent nasal injury, this septum may tilt on one side and the nostrils then have unequal dimensions. What deviated septum means essentially is that it can seriously impact normal breathing, as it blocks the normal air passage within the nose.

Apnea deviated septum – could be a common occurrence amongst the elderly

One of the interesting facts about apnea deviated septum is that both the conditions could be a factor of age. We know that sleep apnea is fairly common amongst the old and about 25% of the elderly population could be suffering from this condition.

As people age they lose muscle tone, including the muscles of the upper airway and the throat. This relaxed group of muscles can obstruct normal breathing and cause sleep apnea. Deviated septum is also a function of age and it has been seen that with age, some serious anatomical abnormalities can develop within the nasal cavity, aggravating the situation. For example, the septum could become crooked with age.

How are sleep apnea and deviated septum linked?

Going by the anatomical structure of the body, a deviated septum can be a factor causing sleep apnea. Any blockage within the nasal cavity can cause disruption to normal breathing, which can ultimately lead to sleep apnea.

Can apnea deviated septum be treated?

Your doctor is the best judge to decide whether you are the right candidate for surgery to repair the deviated septum.

It is highly possible that if there are no other reasons causing sleep apnea and it is just because of deviated septum, then a surgical intervention could correct both the conditions. But it is recommended not to try self-mediation for treating such a serious health condition.

After all, you have to be absolutely sure regarding the causes of sleep apnea as there are countless reasons why one can suffer from this condition including obesity, etc. If after eliminating all other causes for sleep apnea, it is found that a severe septum deviation is the real cause, then do ask your doctor if surgery is warranted.


  1. Robert Fleming says

    I have been diagnosed as having sleep apnea. I have a deviated septum that seems to be blocking the breathing from my left nostril. I was scheduled for surgery to correct the deviated septum but due to my wife suffering a stroke shortly before the scheduled surgery, the surgery was cancelled.

    The doctor and technicians conducting the sleep apnea tests ( I have a second test scheduled in June) have never mentioned the deviated septum as a factor or cause in regard to the sleep apnea.

    I would like more information as to the relationship of sleep apnea and the deviated septum.

    Thank you,

    Bob Fleming
    Louisville, Ky

    • Charlee says

      I have a deviated septum and use a cpap machine.
      The septum moves from side to side depending on what side I am sleeping.
      If on the left side it moves from the rt. side to left

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