OSA is a common, yet often undiagnosed sleep disorder. It afflicts 20 million adult men and women in the U.S. People who have OSA stop breathing repeatedly during sleep because their airway collapses.
Airway collapse may be due to such factors as a large tongue, extra tissue in the airway, or decreased muscle tone holding the airway open. As a result, air is prevented from getting into the lungs.
These pauses in breathing can happen 30 times or more per hour. When healthy sleep is interrupted in this way, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other serious health conditions may increase.
How do I know if I have OSA?
OSA can occur in men, women and children of all ages and sizes. Most people who have OSA do not realize they suffer from the condition. Often, it is the bed partner who notices the first signs of OSA.
If you or someone you know snores regularly and has one or more of the following symptoms, it may be OSA. Check all of the following that apply, and share this list with your doctor.
Key signs and symptoms include:
- • excessive daytime sleepiness
- • loud or disruptive snoring
- • gasping or choking during sleep
Other common symptoms include:
- • grogginess and morning headaches
- • frequent urination at night
- • depression and irritability
OSA is more common in people who:
- • are obese
- • have a large neck or crowding of the upper airway
What happens if I have OSA and I don’t treat it properly?
People who do not seek diagnosis and treatment for OSA may increase their risk for:
- • high blood pressure
- • irregular heart rhythms or heart disease
- • heart attack
- • stroke
- • driving or work-related accidents
How is OSA diagnosed?
- • discuss sleep complaints and symptoms with your doctor
- • if a sleep disorder is suspected, your doctor will refer you to a sleep specialist for evaluation
- • an overnight diagnostic sleep study, known as polysomnography, or PSG, is used to determine the type and severity of the sleep disorder, as well as appropriate treatment