Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common sleep disorder affecting over 18 million people in the United States. Sleep Apnea is characterized by loud or heavy snoring interrupted by the stopping of breathing for more than 10 seconds.
Under diagnosed and frequently dismissed simply as harmless yet annoying snoring, “obstructive sleep apnea” (OSA) is a very dangerous condition. If you or a loved one snore loudly at night, please have a sleep study done to rule out this potentially fatal condition.
The word “apnea” literally means “without breath.”
Snoring occurs when the airway or passage through which we breathe becomes partially blocked or occluded. An example would be a tongue that falls back as we drift off into deeper sleep. As the diameter or size of the airway passage is shrinking, the net result is a muffled sound secondary to vibrations in the throat, or snoring.
These incidences can happen many times per hour and hundreds of times in a night’s sleep. When breathing stops, the snoring stops until individual chokes and gasps for air. They will awaken briefly, sometimes violently, interrupting their sleep patterns and in the morning will have no memories of these incidences.
There are three types of apnea. In all three, people with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night and often for a minute or longer.
With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality.
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