Health & Medical Sleep Disorders

What's Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common category of sleep-disordered breathing. A patient with OSA has problems when the muscle tone of the body. Inside the throat of a person, the airway is composed of collapsible walls of soft tissues, a person with OSA will have it that those soft tissues will get to relaxed and physically block the airflow preventing a person to breath during sleeping periods.

There has been cases where people have experienced sleep apnea if they have an upper respiratory infections, or a cold that blocks the airflow due to mucus. In these cases, the OSA will clear up on it's own and leave no physical damage behind. However in cases of people with chronic severe obstructive sleep apnea, it's important that they get treatment and prevent any low blood oxygen, sleep deprivation, or any other complications that can affect your body because of this sleep disorder. The most serious complications is a severe form of congestive heart failure known as carpulmonale.

It's been learned that obesity is a high common cause of this disorder due to low muscle tone, and soft tissue around the airway, the structural features give rise to a narrowed airway making it easier to have problems with OSA. The elderly is also more likely to have this sleep disorder than younger generations, and it's believe that estrogen is able to prevent apnea since men, and post-menopause woman are more likely to be affected by this sleep disorder than young women, and children are. Of course, everyone can be affected by Obstructive sleep apnea. The risk of OSA rises with increased body weight, if the patient smokes, and age. Also patients with diabetes in one form or another have up to three times the risk of having OSA.

One of the most common symptom is snoring. Almost everyone with a sleep apnea has a problem with loud snoring, along with restless sleep, and sleepiness during the daytime. When an individual believes that they have this disorder, they can do diagonistic tests which can include home oximetry, or polysomnography in a sleep clinic. Once it's decided that you have this sleeping disorder, your doctor can start giving you treatments usually starting by changing your lifestyle by simply avoiding alcohol, losing weight, and quitting smoking, or changing it that the person sleeps at a 30 dg angle by using a recliner. Sleeping at a 30 dg angle is suppose to prevent the gravitational collapse of the airways. If that doesn't work, you may also want to try sleeping on your side instead of laying upon your back.

For some people these benefits may not be enough. This is why the doctor might try various forms of oral appliances which will keep the airway open during sleep, "Breathing machines" or Continuous positive airway pressure, which will help a person sleep even when they can't breath on their own, or have a surgical procedure that will remove and tighten the tissue and widen the airway.

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