OSA afflicts 20 million adult men and women in the United States. People who have OSA stop breathing repeatedly during sleep because the airway collapses.
Airway collapse may be due to such factors as a large tongue, extra tissue in the airway, or decreased muscle tone holding the airway open. As a result, air is prevented from getting into the lungs. These pauses in breathing can happen 30 times or more per hour. When healthy sleep is interrupted in this way, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other serious health conditions may increase.
OSA can occur in men, women and children of all ages and sizes. Most people who have OSA do not realize they suffer from the condition. Often, it is someone else who witnesses the first signs of OSA.If you or someone you know snores regularly and has one or more of the following symptoms, it may be OSA. Consider all of the following that apply, and share this list with your doctor.
Key signs and symptoms include:
Other common symptoms include:
Possible increased risk for:
The most common treatment is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), pronounced "see-PAP." Other less common treatments include surgery and oral appliances, which may be effective in certain individuals. Any treatments should include weight loss if needed, exercise, and avoidance of alcohol, sedatives, and hypnotics.
PAP therapy will relieve the airway obstruction that occurs while you sleep. PAP treatment can dramatically improve the life of someone diagnosed with sleep apnea. When you wear the system every night during sleep and optimum therapy is achieved, you may experience the following benefits of treatment:
You will need to use your treatment every night while you sleep. If you do not, you will return to your previous level of snoring, sleep apnea, and daytime tiredness.
Untreated sleep apnea also has been shown to co-exist with a number of other medical conditions, such as:
Sleep apnea also may contribute to driving and work-related accidents.
See your doctor. Evaluation by a doctor specializing in sleep disorders is recommended. Have a sleep study done. A sleep study can provide the doctor with information about how you sleep and breathe. This information will help the doctor to determine your diagnosis and treatment options.