Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA is a condition in which breathing stops involuntarily for brief periods of time during sleep. This happens because of physical blockage in the upper airway . People with OSA stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. Periods when the breathing stops are called apnea. Snoring is characteristic of obstructive sleep apnea caused by airflow squeezing through the narrowed airway space. The diaphragm and chest muscles work harder as the pressure increases to open the airway. Breathing usually resumes with a loud gasp or body jerk. They may be waking up suddenly from the sleep gasping and choked. These episodes can interfere with sleep and reduce the flow of oxygen to vital organs.
OSA is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, stroke and sudden death. OSA also can also cause difficulty to focus at work or school and more prone for work-related injuries or motor vehicle accidents due to daytime sleepiness.
Risk factors for OSA including being overweight or obese, male gender, thick neck circumference, narrowed airways (from enlarge tonsils or adenoids), smoker, consuming alcohol or sedatives drugs, family history of OSA, nasal congestion and underlying medical illness such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, lung disease and stroke.
Patient often have no sleeping complaint but their sleeping partner may complain being woken up by patient’s apneic episodes. Patient often feeling tired waking up from sleep and feel sleepy throughout the day, dry mouth and sore throat upon awakening, easily irritable and forgetful, headache and sexual dysfunction.
If you suffer from apnea, talk to our doctor for more information and referral for sleep study.