Sleep Apnea is an upper airway condition seen during sleep where the pharynx closes slightly during inspiration. It can also be called – Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA.

When your breathing is interrupted while you sleep, this can result in long pauses in-between breathes. In some cases, the person may wake immediately while taking a gasping breath and may be followed by loud snoring.

Quite often, episodes reoccur throughout the night and happen almost every night. The individual may not remember waking and suffering through the night. This will lead to fatigue and exhaustion the following day.

For diagnosis – an overnight sleep study is often required that measures oxygen saturation and breathing as you sleep. When Sleep Apnea is seen in children – symptoms often seen are hyperactivity and problems at school.

OSA affects around 5% of adults and 2% of children.

Three primary forms:

1.)  Obstructive
2.)  Central
3.)  Combination of both

Common Risk Factors:

–  Alcohol consumption prior to sleeping
–  Nasal obstruction
–  Family history
–  Obesity
–  Hypothyroidism
–  Smoking
–  Allergies
–  Enlarged Tonsils
–  Middle age men

Most Commonly Seen Symptoms

–  Fatigue
–  Headaches
–  Weight gain
–  Impotence
–  Snoring
–  Restlessness while asleep
–  Depression

**** – Oxygen saturation falls dramatically while on a sleep study

Treatment

1.)  Weight loss

2.)  Lifestyle changes

3.)  Avoid alcohol

4.)  Mouthpieces
– Can be a football like mouthpiece that is taken home and boiled in water
– Some mouthpieces are created by the dentist or similar.

5.)  Nasal continuous positive airway pressure [CPAP]

6.)  Surgical procedure

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