Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is when air flow is intermittently prohibited from entering the lungs by an obstruction in the airway - even though the chest and abdominal muscles continue to try to take a breath. The obstruction is generally in the back part of the throat, making you struggle to take a breath against this obstruction. These efforts continue increasing in strength until finally there is enough force to overcome the obstruction. When airflow resumes, there is often a loud snore or snort, one of the hallmarks of OSA. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea.
OSA affects 2% to 4% of pre-menopausal women and 6% to 8% of men. The incidence for post-menopausal women is very similar to men. Although not considered hereditary, OSA can be seen in families due to environmental situations as opposed to genetic links.
Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
Untreated, OSA can result in very serious consequences, such as:
- Motor vehicle or work-related accidents
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Sexual dysfunction
OSA is also linked to or complicates:
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)
- Type II diabetes
Learn more about OSA treatment options.