What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious condition in which a person stops breathing during sleep. There are several types of sleep apnea, but the most common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). For those with sleep apnea, collapsed tissue within the throat obstructs the airway resulting in interrupted breathing during sleep. When the airway is obstructed, the body partially awakens to resume breathing, in some cases hundreds of times per night. This interrupts the sleep cycle, preventing truly restful sleep which leads to feeling tired, grumpy and of course, snoring.
- Pauses in breathing typically last 10 seconds
- Severe cases may last up to 30 seconds
- Loud snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea
- Pauses can recur throughout the sleep cycle
- May result in frequent awakenings and sleep fragmentation
OSA can leave you feeling tired all day, cause fatigued driving and lower your productivity, but these are not the only dangers. Left untreated, OSA puts added stress on the body and immune system. Chronic lack of sleep can exacerbate existing conditions, increasing the likelihood of adverse events. Research findings report that Sleep apnea is commonly associated with other serious medical conditions like:
OSA is a widespread health problem, with potentially life-threatening consequences if left untreated. For these reasons it is crucial that anyone experiencing symptoms be screened and tested for OSA. Intervening early can prevent progression of the disease and improve overall health, reducing other problems.