Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when your airway temporarily collapses during sleep. You continue to make efforts to breath but are unable to move air in and out of your lungs because of the obstruction at the back of your throat. During the collapse, which can last from 10 seconds to over a minute, your breathing muscles continue to work with a progressive effort until you awaken and resume normal breathing. After a few breaths, your oxygen levels return to normal. You fall back to sleep and the airway obstruction occurs again. This cycle may continue throughout the night, disrupting your normal sleep pattern. As a result, you may complain of un-refreshing sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness.
What is the cycle of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
How common is sleep apnea?
- 1 in 15 people have moderate to severe OSA (Young et al. JAMA 2004)
- 9% women and 25% men in the middle-aged working population have OSA (Marshall et al. Sleep 2008)
- Sleep apnea is as common as diabetes and asthma.
- Most OSA sufferers remain undiagnosed and untreated.
- 50% of patients with Type II Diabetes have OSA
- 35% of patients with high blood pressure have OSA 6
What causes the airway to collapse during sleep?
- Extra tissue in the back of the airway such as large tonsils
- Decrease in the tone of the muscles holding the airway open
- The tongue falling back and closing off the airway
- Abnormal anatomy such as a recessed jaw
What are the common signs and symptoms?
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS)
- Loud irregular snoring
- Witnessed apneic or choking periods
- Morning headaches
- Frequent awakenings during the night
- Rapid onset of sleep
- Leg cramps
- Weight gain
- Sleepiness while driving
- Frequent need to urinate at night
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
More Sleep Apnea Information
It's February! How are your New Year's resolutions coming along? If you're struggling to stick with your resolutions, you're not alone! According to U.S. News, roughly 80% of resolutions fail by mid-February. So how can we be part of the 20% that stick to their...
There are a number of devices that can be used to help treat your sleep apnea. Choosing the right device depends on the type and severity of your sleep apnea. You should consult with your sleep specialist to help assess which device will be right for you. CPAP...
A number of medical treatments can be used to treat your sleep apnea and you should consult your doctor to find the treatment that will work best for you. What treatment should be used will depend on the type and severity of your sleep apnea. Mouthpieces If you have a...
You should always consult your doctor about your plans to treat your sleep apnea to ensure it will be the most effective for your specific type and severity of the condition. There are a number of lifestyle changes that make help treat your condition: Quit smoking....
Sleep apnea comes with an array of symptoms that can impact you. These symptoms can have an impact on your life as a whole and not just your ability to get a good night’s sleep. If you, or someone you love, experience the following symptoms it may be time to consult a...
Sleep apnea is not a sleep disorder you want in your life. Do what you can to prevent the development of by following a few simple rules: Eat sensibly, stay healthy. Keeping yourself in a fit and healthy state will keep a number of illnesses from developing. Sleep...
If you suspect that you or someone you love has sleep apnea, it is time to visit your doctor. Your doctor will base the diagnosis on your family history, a physical exam, and sleep study results. It is important to see your doctor about any concerns that impact your...
Sleep apnea is a lot more common that you may realize, especially since it often goes undiagnosed. 1 in 15 people have moderate to severe OSA (Young et al. JAMA 2004) 9% women and 25% men in the middle-aged working population have OSA (Marshall et al. Sleep 2008)...
Sleep apnea is an illness that needs to be taken seriously. It impacts more than your ability to get a good night sleep. Long term effects can be severe if it is left untreated. Studies have shown that those with sleep apnea were three times more likely to die sooner...
What Kinds of Sleep Apnea are There? There are three types of sleep apnea, obstructive, central, and complex. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, it is caused by the muscles of the your throat relaxing while sleep. When this occurs, the muscles provide less support...