OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA (OSA).
Habitual snoring can also be, the tip of the iceberg,
of a much more serious medical condition called Obstructive Sleep
OSA is characterized by
repetitive episodes of upper airway obstruction that occurs during
sleep, usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen. (the
brain is deprived of oxygen)
OSA syndrome is an important
medical disorder that warrants active investigation by means of a
clinical evaluation and polysomnography sleep study. Treatment is
essential, not only to improve the symptoms that include snoring
and sleepiness, but also to prevent the development of
The main problem with OSA is
the effect on blood oxygen levels in the body. If we cannot inhale
air, oxygen levels are reduced. The brain while we are asleep
senses the lack of oxygen and stimulates the body to wake up
(called an arousal). Breathing returns to normal till the next
blockage. In people with severe OSA these arousal’s can happen up
to 400 times per night.
The nights sleep is very
disrupted, resulting in excessive daytime sleepiness, confused
states, headaches etc the next day. Often the problem is first
noticed by the person’s sleeping partner who notices that in
addition to snoring the sufferer has periods of non breathing and
lie awake fearful that breathing will not start
Unfortunately the sufferer
normally does not wake long enough to remember in the morning they
have had the events. All they know is that they awake tired
This continual arousal
pattern ever night has an adverse effect on the sufferer’s day time
activity levels and quality of life and often leads to cardiac and
blood pressure problems.
Chronic Daytime Sleepiness is really a medical condition and can
lead to increased car accidents, work accidents and sick
Not to mention the affect on the sleeping or non sleeping partner
and others in the household.
in addition to OBSTRUCTIVE
SLEEP APNEA there is CENTRAL SLEEP APNEA.