Obstructive Sleep Apnea
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by repeated stopping and starting of breathing during sleep. It is the most common form of sleep apnea, occurring when the throat muscles relax and block the airways.
What are the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea?
The symptoms of this condition include:
- Morning headaches
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Decreased libido
- High blood pressure
- Abrupt awakenings caused by gasping or choking
- Dry mouth and sore throat
- Mood changes
- Issues with concentration during the day
- Episodes of stopped breathing while asleep
- Sweating at night
There are complications that can arise from obstructive sleep apnea. Cardiovascular problems, issues with medication and surgery, and eye problems are all possible complications.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea?
This condition occurs when the muscles at the back of the throat relax too much, stopping a normal breathing pattern.
There are risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea, but anybody can develop it. They include narrowed airways, being overweight, chronic nasal congestion, diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, asthma, being male, and a family history of sleep apnea.
How is obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed?
Doctors will look for characteristic symptoms and perform a physical evaluation, and a sleep specialist is often necessary for a final diagnosis. Tests will be used, such as a polysomnography and home sleep apnea test.
What are the treatments for obstructive sleep apnea?
If one’s sleep apnea is mild, lifestyle changes like losing weight and exercising regularly may help. For more severe cases, there is positive airway pressure, a mouthpiece, surgery to remove the tissue from the back of the mouth and top of the throat, upper airway stimulation, tracheostomy, jaw surgery, nasal surgery, removing the tonsils or adenoids, and implants.