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What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?



Want a quick overview of sleep apnea and snoring, symptoms, health risks and solutions?


Click here to view: “A Patient’s Guide To Obstructive Sleep Apnea.”


Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Several types of sleep apnea exist, but the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway during sleep. The most noticeable sign of obstructive sleep apnea is snoring.

Anyone can develop obstructive sleep apnea, although it most commonly affects middle-aged and older adults and people who are overweight.

Poor sleep health is a common problem, with up to 30 percent of U.S. adults failing to meet the objective for sufficient sleep. Furthermore, it is estimated that about 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems, with nearly 60 percent of those having a chronic illness such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in adults include:

Excessive daytime sleepiness. Generally, patients risk falling asleep during the day while performing routine activities such as reading, watching TV, sitting inactively, lying down, or riding in a car while a passenger. Usually, these brief episodes of sleep do not seem to relieve their overall sense of sleepiness.

Morning headaches.

Irritability and impaired mental or emotional functioning. These types of symptoms are directly related to interrupted sleep.

Snoring. Bed partners may report very loud and interrupted snoring. Patients experience snoring associated with choking or gasps. This often occurs in a crescendo pattern with the loudest noises occurring at the very end. These findings are more likely to occur when lying on their backs (supine position). Patients often suffer from frequent arousals during sleep because of snoring.

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