Obstructive sleep apnea, otherwise referred to as OSA, is a sleep-related breathing disorder that involves a decrease or complete halt in airflow, despite an ongoing effort to breathe. While sleep apnea affects more men than women, anyone can experience OSA. Learn more about the different types of OSA.
During sleep, breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes long, and can happen 30 times or more in an hour. One of the most common signs of sleep apnea is snoring, and it’s usually the loudest when you sleep on your back. If you think you might have sleep apnea, here are some of the things you should look for, and probably experience, almost every night while trying to sleep:
- Choking or gasping during sleep
- Feeling fatigued throughout the day
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Memory loss or forgetfulness
What happens when sleep apnea goes untreated?
Without treatment, OSA can affect many parts of your daily life. People with sleep apnea typically feel exhausted throughout the day, which can decrease productivity at work and at home, cause mood swings or irritability, and may lead to drowsy driving. Even more concerning, though, is sleep apnea’s connection to serious health issues. Some of these include:
- Increased risk for high blood pressure
- Heart disease
If you know someone who is not sleeping well at night because of sleep apnea or a suspected OSA, our doctors can meet with them and discuss the treatment options, and there are many, that will work the best for you and your bed partner.
Next week, we will continue discussing how your sleeping habits and overall wellness can improve when you treat OSA properly. In the meantime, if you have a specific questions about sleep apnea and how to sleep well, contact Iowa Sleep or send us a question through our online form.