What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

sleep of husband and wifeSleep apnea is a condition that occurs in people who often stop breathing or experience shallow breathing during the night while they sleep. Though there are several types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common. Essentially, it means that your airway becomes blocked, either completely or partially, while you sleep. This puts more stress on your heart and diaphragm when you breathe, which can prevent oxygen from flowing to your vital organs. It can happen 30 times or more each hour and last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes.

What are the Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Gasping, snorting, choking and jolting awake when you have an episode is the most common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. It usually leads to a night of poor sleep, which can lead to fatigue the next day. People with sleep apnea are prone to driving and workplace accidents. Other symptoms might include night sweats, dry mouth or sore throat, headaches, depression, irritability, restlessness, and problems with sexual performance.

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, your weight, age, and sex can play into whether or not you will develop obstructive sleep apnea. It is more common in women, middle-aged adults, and people who are overweight. A thick neck or swollen tonsils can also play a role in the condition. If you smoke or have high blood pressure, you are also prone to developing it.

What Should You Do If You Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you need to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible. Long-term effects of the condition can lead to issues like stroke, heart disease, and even death. To learn more and set up a consultation, call Riverside Oral & Facial Surgery at 706-235-5570.