What is OSA?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is characterized as the complete or partial closure of the airway despite your body trying to breathe. When you fall asleep the muscles of the upper airway will relax and gravity will cause the tongue to fall back in the throat and occlude the airway further.
These periods of not breathing can last anywhere from 10 seconds to over a minute in severe cases. Individuals with severe OSA can stop breathing more than 80 times per hour. During OSA events the body is not able to get air into your lungs in turn depriving the body of oxygen. Your body will alert you of this lack of oxygen or increase of Carbon Dioxide by awaken you causing a gasp or snort to increase the airway and allow air to enter the lungs. These awakenings are called arousals. Frequent arousals during the night decrease your quality of sleep.
Your body is meant to rest and repair itself during the night.
In different stages of sleep the body goes through different processes. If one has OSA, the body has to actively work, repeatedly, throughout the night therefore not allowing this repair process to occur. Many significant side affects and medical conditions can occur to the body with untreated OSA. To list just a few; High blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, pre-diabetes and diabetes, depression and death. Treatment of the OSA can significantly decrease or completely remove the affects of these conditions of on body. The most preferred treatment of OSA is CPAP.
Those who are at an increased risk for OSA;
1)Being Overweight- 70% have OSA
2) Having high blood pressure-30% have OSA
3) Males with a neck size of 17inches or more, Females with a neck circumference of 16inches or more
4) Males over 40 and Females over 50- two to three times more likely
5) Current smokers-three times more likely
6) Those with facial deformities
7) Those with a family history-two to four times more likely
Interesting facts from Dede our Nurse Practitioner-
1) 85% of patients with congestive heart failure have sleep apnea!
2) 20% of all serious car injuries are associated with sleepy drivers!
3) 60-80% of all obese people have sleep disordered breathing!
4) $200,000 average health care costs due to undiagnosed sleep apnea over a 2 year period!
5) 1 out of 5 people have mild OSA / 1 in 15 have moderate or severe
6) OSA remains undiagnosed in 92% of affected women and 80% of affected men