Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep breathing disorder in which a person stops breathing during sleep. The tissues in the throat collapse, cutting off the airway despite efforts to breathe. Apnea is defined as “a cessation of airflow for 10 seconds or more.” This can occur dozens and sometimes even hundreds of times an hour, depending on the severity. These apnea episodes will wake you up from a deep sleep into light sleep stage, never allowing you to get the restful sleep that you need. As airflow stops during an episode, the oxygen level in your blood drops and there is an arousal from deep sleep. The low oxygen levels during sleep can make you feel very tired in the morning and will contribute to more restless sleep. These sudden drops in blood oxygen levels during sleep apnea episodes increase blood pressure and overwork the cardiovascular system and other major organs. If you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea you have a higher risk of developing High Blood Pressure, having a Heart Attack, experiencing abnormal Heartbeats, and even a Stroke. If you already suffer from any Heart disease, you should be aware that multiple episodes of low blood oxygen (hypoxia or hypoxemia) can lead to sudden death from an irregular heartbeat. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is classified as mild, moderate or severe:
Mild OSA- The sufferer experiences 5-14 episodes of interruptions in breathing in an hour.
Moderate OSA- The sufferer experiences 15-30 episodes of interruptions in breathing in an hour.
Severe OSA- The sufferer experiences 30 or more interruptions in breathing in an hour.