Obstructive sleep apnea affects around 20 million Americans and can lead to hypertension, heart attack, stroke, depression, muscle pain, fibromyalgia, morning headaches, and excessive daytime sleepiness.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

OSA 101

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a very common, but serious, medical condition that affects millions of Americans. OSA is characterized by intermittent periods of breathing cessation while you sleep. Some sleep apneics stop breathing up to several hundred times a night. Snoring is often associated with sleep apnea. Apnea actually comes from the Greek and means “without breath.”

OSA is caused by a blockage of your airway; the blockage typically occurs when the soft tissue in the back of your throat collapses and closes while you sleep. In another type of sleep apena, central sleep apnea (CSA), the airway is not fully blocked but the brain fails to signal your muscles to breathe. There is also mixed sleep apnea, which, as its name implies, is a combination of OSA and CSA. It is estimated that 12 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea. Like many diseases and conditions, family members are affected by the condition; in this case, your partner will certainly be affected by your interrupted sleep and may even hear you gasping for air in the middle of the night. This can be quite scary because it sounds like you’re suffocating.

Some of the risk factors for sleep apnea are:

• Being male
• Being overweight
• Being over the age of forty

However, sleep apnea can affect females, those who are not overweight and can even affect children. Many cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed and, therefore, also go untreated. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a whole host of medical problems including these signs and symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Concentration problems
  • Memory problems

As you can see by this only partial list of medical problems associated with sleep apnea, it cannot be ignored. Sleep apnea specialists such as Gurnee, Illinois dentist, Dr. Ira Shapira, can evaluate your case thoroughly and then recommend a treatment plan that is best suited for your individual case.

Please contact Dr. Shapira’s Snoring & Sleep Apnea Treatment Center today to schedule your initial appointment to be evaluated for OSA.

posted by Evan Langsted at 2:54 PM