Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

OSA is when a sleeping person stops breathing because something is blocking the airway. When this happens, the body doesn’t take in the oxygen it needs. This leads to potentially life threatening conditions that affect the heart, brain and blood pressure.

Symptoms Include

  • Snoring
  • Waking up abruptly, gasping for air
  • Periods without breathing
  • Restless sleep
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Large tonsils and/or adenoids with frequent mouth breathing
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of focus
  • Depression
  • Morning headaches

Who Is at Risk?

  • 1 in 5 adults has at least mild sleep apnea
  • 1 in 15 adults has at least moderate sleep apnea
  • OSA affects 1-3% of children
  • OSA is twice as common in males as it is in females

Risk factors include being overweight, habitual snoring and large neck size.

Diagnosis and Treatment

OSA can be diagnosed with a sleep test. Some treatments include:

  • Changing behaviors recommended to prevent snoring
  • Getting fitted for and wearing an oral appliance at night
  • Using a C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine
  • Surgery

Prevent Snoring

Snoring is at best annoying and at worst a symptom of a condition such as OSA. Here are some measures to help prevent snoring:

  • Weight loss (even 10 pounds can make a difference)
  • Side sleeping
  • Avoiding alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals within 2 hours of bedtime
  • Avoiding sedatives
  • Using nasal strips to unblock nasal passages