Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is an insomnia problem affecting many people. It is characterized by one or more pauses in breathing while you sleep, with each pause lasting approximately 10 seconds up to 30 seconds or longer.
When regular breathing starts again, it can be accompanied by a choking sound or loud snort. Apnea leads to poor sleep quality and leads to daytime sleepiness, exhaustion and irritability.
There are several types of sleep apnea but obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. It happens when the throat muscles relax occasionally during sleep, thus blocking your airway. This situation usually affects older adults although anyone can develop OSA. It is also common in overweight people.
Signs and Symptoms?
You will find three major symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea: snoring, sleepiness and spousal reports of apnea. Someone close to the patient, such as a spouse, can provide valuable information. The individual is usually unaware that she or he suffers from it.
They may even think of themselves as good sleepers because they can easily fall asleep anytime. Sleepiness is a potentially dangerous characteristic of apnea. Accidents can happen as a result of drowsiness.
You should diagnose obstructive sleep apnea properly as it can result in debilitating health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression and coronary artery disease. Daytime drowsiness can also cause accidents.
Mild cases of apnea can be corrected by losing weight through diet and exercise. Many people can prevent apnea by not sleeping on their back. For more severe cases, it can be treated by wearing breathing devices through the night or undergoing corrective surgery to remove the airway blockage.
A lot of people with obstructive sleep apnea use a device called a nasal CPAP to keep the airway open while they rest. A CPAP machine, or continuous positive airway pressure machine, delivers air via a mask kept over the nose or both the nose and mouth. CPAP therapy is considered to be the very best and popular therapy for OSA.
In children, apnea may be brought on by enlarged tonsils and adenoids. The condition can be corrected by tonsillectomy. Adults who choose surgery to treat OSA can have their airway obstruction removed. A procedure called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty removes excess tissue at the rear of the throat. Corrective surgery must be tailored to the patient’s specific anatomical obstruction to be effective.
If not treated, obstructive sleep apnea can increase the chance of accidents, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Change in lifestyle, surgery and breathing devices can correct this sleep disorder effectively.